(Update from a media conference held on Monday, April 27. Representing the BOA was President, Sandra Osborne, SCM, Q.C., Secretary-General, Erskine Simmons, BSM and Assistant Secretary-General, Cameron Burke.)
The Barbados Olympic Association Inc. receives funds from four entities. These are Olympic Solidarity, Pan Am Sports, Barbados Lottery, and now the Gaming fund set up by Govt, which is a share of taxes collected from the slot and the VLT machines. Up until recently, the BOA had two commissions charged with the responsibility for the disbursement of funds to our athletes. With the advent of the new funding stream, the formation of the Allocations and funding Commission was seen as a more prudent way to manage and collate the distribution of these funds.
Allocations and Funding Commission
Mr. Cameron Burke chairs the Commission, which also includes, Mr. Erskine Simmons. Treasurer Orson Simpson, Director Mrs. Shelly Griffith, General Manager Glyne Clarke, and Chair of the Education Commission Mr. Dave Farmer. Senior Operations Officer at the BOA, Mr. Ryan Brathwaite, will serve as Secretary to the Commission and will manage the day to day activity associated with the disbursement and reporting to the various agencies on the use of these funds.
The Commission’s mandate is to make recommendations to the Board to provide funding support to athletes directly and at times through their respective National Federations.
In 2017 the BOA funded athletes in five tiers. At that time its roster totaled some 71 athletes. In 2019, the Board mandated a review of this system as it was felt that the program was somewhat diluted and not of a significant benefit to meet the stated goal of the BOA, which is to provide to the best of our ability first world level funding support to give athletes a better competitive advantage.
The review has already started to reap some benefits and as Barbados captured its first Pan Am Games gold medal, more athletes qualified for the Pan Am Games, and more teams finished in the top eight of the disciplines. This means that the funding is impacting on athlete preparation for competition. The BOA is however mindful that more funding is necessary for the athletes to achieve top-class results.
1. Elite Athlete (2)
• An elite athlete is an individual who:
o places in the top 8 at the last edition of the Olympics or World Championships, or
o is ranked in the world top 50 for his or her discipline (athlete ranking).
2. High-Performance Athlete (18)
• A high-performance athlete is an individual who:
o places in the top 16 at the last edition of the Olympics, top 8 at the Commonwealth Games, Pan Am Games or is a medallist at the last edition of the Central American & Caribbean (CAC) Games, or
o is ranked within the 20th percentile in the world based in your sport, or
o is currently on an Olympic Solidarity Scholarship program.
3. Developing Athlete (20)
• A developing athlete is an individual who:
o places in the top 16 at the last edition of the Commonwealth, Pan Am Games, or
o places in the top 8 at the last edition of the CAC Games, or
o places in the top 8 at the last edition of the Youth Olympics, Junior Pan Am Games, Commonwealth Youth Games, or
o whose performances rank them in the top 16 of the last edition of the NCAA Division I ranking, or
o finishes in the top 8 at the last edition of the continental and regional competitions.
4. Emerging Athlete (50)
• An emerging athlete is an individual who:
o is ranked within the 20th percentile in his or her discipline (athlete ranking) in the Central American and Caribbean region, or
o has demonstrated consistent and improved performances in his or her discipline and an individual who the National Federation has identified for a development program.
5. Team Sports
• To be funded on a case by case basis:
o Participation in regional or continental tournaments
o Basic training/ preparation programs.
* The BOA reserves the right to accept or deny an individual athlete/team who it deems not suitable to fall into any of these categories.
* The performances of the athletes must be maintained within the funding period (reviewed annually).
Elite/High-Performance Athlete – Each athlete in this category will receive a monthly subsidy – The athlete will also be entitled to receive additional competition and qualification funding support.
Developing Athlete – Athletes in this category will be funded individually through their National Federation – National Federations will be required to submit a plan for/or on behalf of these athletes – National Federations will manage the disbursements to the athletes – The BOA is willing to support competitions, coaching, strength and conditioning expenditure – Athletes will be required to report to the National Federation – The National Federation will be required to submit reports every six (6) months. – Athletes will have the opportunity to gain additional valuable insights and education through the National Olympic Academy Athlete Development Program.
Emerging Athlete – Funding for athletes within this category will be provided to the National Federation – National Federations will be asked to provide a training program for this group of athletes to be approved by the BOA – National Federations will be fully responsible for the coordination and implementation of the program once approved. – National Federations will be required to submit progress reports every six (6) months etc. – The BOA is willing to support – competitions, coaching, strength and conditioning – Athletes will have the opportunity to gain additional valuable insights & education through the National Olympic Academy Athlete Development Programme.
The special sports insurance policy has been of a major benefit to the athletes. For as little as $50 annually, athletes get $50.000.00 coverage, which meets their medical needs. This policy is sports specific and is way different from a regular health insurance policy but benefits may be derived from both.
With the new dates for Tokyo 2020, all of the funding agencies have relaxed most of their funding guidelines and allowed for more flexibility in the use of the funds. The IOC has made more funds available by increasing its budget for the games by USD 10.3M. Each NOC must submit a proposal to receive any allocations.
How can Barbados benefit?
Firstly, the Olympic Scholarship program has been extending until August 2021. There are six athletes in that program, which means they will continue to receive a monthly stipend until the games.
The BOA will also benefit from an increase in NOC Games Operational Subsidy as well as additional funding relating to exceptional Games related costs incurred due to the postponement. e.g. increase in team size.
Pan Am Sports will follow suit and the BOA Commission will be formulating a proposal for submission to these funding agencies. Among the things under consideration will be extended overseas training camps as part of the preparation for qualifying competitions.
There is lots of work ahead. While the BOA recognizes the uncertainty of the times, it will be ensuring that we are ready to go when the all-clear is given.