Funding woes slow Antigua jumper Loomis Tokyo Olympic bid

By Sports Desk January 05, 2020
Antigua high jumper Priscilla Loomis. Antigua high jumper Priscilla Loomis.

Antiguan high jump specialist Priscilla Loomis has highlighted facing significant financial obstacles in her bid to compete for the country at this summer’s Tokyo Olympic Games.

The 30-year-old athlete had previously hinted at retirement after narrowly failing to qualify for last year’s Doha World Championships.  On that occasion, the Pan Am Games silver medalist pointed to several factors that influenced her consideration, chiefly among them was a lack of available funding.

Despite the change of heart regarding her decision to continue competing for the tiny island nation, the funding issues remain.  

“It is what it is at this point. My husband and I spoke and he took out a personal loan to fund me and to make sure that I have whatever I need for funding so that was one of the biggest reasons why I wasn’t sure if I was going to be able to even train, I knew I would not have been able to do it on the funding [from NOC],” Loomis told the Antigua Observer in a recent interview.

The Antigua and Barbuda National Olympic Committee (NOC) assists with the funding of elite athletes that compete for the country.  The stipend is believed to be in the region of $US 1000 per month.  Loomis, however, seems to deem the amount to not just be insufficient but more significantly not always disbursed on time.

“I know I am not the only athlete that had minimal funding and so when we sat down and put our numbers out I had to take a step back a little bit from my business, which my clients were totally okay with. So I worked four days per month to help with the rent where I lived, to train and then my husband took out the personal loan for the rest of the year to get me what I need in terms of clothing, shoes, medicine, gear, nutrition and all that.”

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