Shafiqua Maloney gets support after explosive interview
Vincentian athlete Shafiqua Maloney leaders the pack during an athletics meet. (Inset) Prime Minister Dr Ralph Gonsalves
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February 20, 2024
Shafiqua Maloney gets support after explosive interview

Following an explosive interview on the SportsMax Zone on Thursday February 15, 2024, 24-year-old Shafiqua Maloney was assured by St. Vincent and the Grenadines Prime Minister Dr. Ralph Gonsalves that the government of St. Vincent and the Grenadines will assist her in preparing for the 2024 Summer Olympics in Paris, France, Friday, July 26 – Sunday, August 11, 2024.

Speaking at a ceremony at Cabinet Room on Friday February 16, 2024, where cheques were handed over to Principals of schools in his constituency, Prime Minister Gonsalves said “I spoke to Shafiqua this morning to congratulate her and more importantly, for her own perseverance, and to commit to her the support of the Government of St Vincent for the Olympics in the first place, which is in August in Paris.”

The Prime Minister also revealed that Finance Minister, Camillo Gonsalves had informed him of the willingness of the Eastern Caribbean Group of Companies(ECGC) to also assist Maloney.

“Camillo told me last evening that ECGC wants to be engaged, possibly in a sponsorship with Shafiqua, so I called Jomo Cato (CEO of ECGC) this morning and asked him to send me what they had in mind. I asked him what number they had, and I told him the number Shafiqua had told me. I said I’m sure we can do something together, not only for her but also for Handel Roban,” the Prime Minister added.

“She told me many things this morning, which is not my place to talk about. I am not going through the many emails she sent to specific people because I do not want any controversy to surround this talented young lady. All I want now is that, going forward, between now and the Olympics, we help to take care of this young lady and see that she gets what is reasonably required.”

Maloney appeared in a SportsMax interview last week on the heels of having qualified for the Olympics where she spoke about making the qualifying time, the goodness of God in her life, and some of the challenges she’s currently facing.

“The …Lord has been keeping me these past few years, honestly, and so when I’ve been watching my race on repeat, you know…I can’t even find the words to describe how… good the LORD has been to me.”

When prompted by one of the programme hosts, she revealed that “Almost every week it’s tough for me. I’m unsponsored. I don’t have any support. I can’t work legally. I don’t have any income. So, you know, trying to figure out where your next food is gonna come from. I have my mom or dad, or I get some money from somebody, it’s like, do I pay bills? Do I buy supplements? Do I get some groceries? Or do I go get me a massage and see the chiropractor?”

Maloney said some days are easier than others but she is following the advice of her coaches and staying focussed on the July 26-August 11 Olympics.

Speaking of her immigration status, and the fact that if she leaves the USA, she would be unable to re-enter without a visa, Dr. Gonsalves revealed that in his conversation with Maloney “… I said suppose you don’t get your visa arrangement sorted out properly in the United States. I said if you left, you wouldn’t be able to go back. If you leave to go to Paris, you won’t be able to go back to America unless things are sorted out. She said, ‘Prime Minister, this is the Olympics. I want to be at the Olympics’, but we are hoping that this matter can be sorted out before then.” Following the airing of the SportsMax interview, social media lit up with comments in support of Maloney, including suggestions for financial assistance. A Go-Fund-Me effort is among the initiatives that have emerged to drum up financial help for the Vincentian athlete.

Shafiqua Maloney smashed her own national 800-metre record on Saturday February, 10, 2024 at the 2024 Tyson Invitational in Arkansas, USA, clocking a lifetime best 1 minute 58.69 seconds to win the event, elevating her to the number two spot in the world in the women’s 800 metres this year, and bettered the Paris Olympic qualifying standard of 1 minute 59.30 seconds, as she broke the 23-year-old meet record of 2:01.00 set by Jearl Miles-Clark in 2001.