March 27, 2009
Ballantyne: Local athletes need more attention

Long distance athlete Pamenos Ballantyne wants to see more attention paid to local athletes, especially those who participate in road races.{{more}}

Ballantyne told SEARCHLIGHT recently that the road racing committee of Team Athletics SVG needs to give more attractive prizes, especially monetary rewards at its events.

Giving the example of $200 as the winning prize for a five legged Road Relay, Ballantyne said that each athlete will get $40, and thought that was insufficient for a day’s work.

“I cannot see injustice going on a say nothing about it,” Ballantyne said.

“You cannot compare today with 35 years ago, when people used to run for nothing,” the ace long distance runner stated.

Ballantyne said that although he is not a rich man, he is willing to take money from his own pocket if called upon to do so for a road race.

“Success is expensive, and I know that, because I have to get supplements and the proper running shoes and so on,” he added.

“The athletes need support in order to get better,” said Ballantyne, who has won the Clico Trinidad and Tobago on seven occasions.

He referred to being unable to attend the 1993 Junior Carifta Games because the Association, then, did not have any money to send him.

“Sometimes athletes come to me for assistance. I know what they are going through,” Ballantyne related.

Ballantyne himself has been able to earn remuneration from participating in several road races, mainly in Trinidad and Tobago.

He, however, added: “I run mainly because I love the sport.”

Ballantyne reiterated that he sometimes participates in events simply for a medal, hence money for his efforts is not the problem. He said he, however, wants the upcoming athletes to be justly rewarded to maintain their interest, especially in road running.

“Personally, I can run for free,” Ballantyne concluded. (RT)