December 30, 2010
Mayers fumes about NOC’s US$1000

Gold medalist in the women’s 100m at the 2010 Commonwealth Games, Vincentian Natasha Mayers, is fuming about US$1000 handed over to her by National Olympic Committee (NOC) on a recent visit back home.{{more}}

Mayers, who copped this country’s first Track and Field medal at last October’s 19th Commonwealth Games in India, was jetted back here by the NOC for a formal handing over of her medal.

She had originally placed third in the race. However, her status was elevated to second, then first, after two athletes were disqualified.

The ceremony was co-hosted by Team Athletics SVG and the NOC and held at Frenches House under the theme: “ Raising the Bar”.

Mayers, at the December 18 Awards Ceremony, was also presented with an undisclosed sum of money in recognition of her achievement.

But according to her, she actually received the US$1000 on the night of Monday, December 20.

Speaking to SEARCHLIGHT from her California home last Monday, Mayers questioned: “$1000 for an international elite athlete?”

“Is this reward for my efforts?” she further asked.

“I mean, this is my job, I could not have pursued this goal while working a regular job, and my pay for this job was a $1000?” Mayers questioned.

Putting her achievements into context, Mayers stated: “In the past, athletes, even in the poorest countries, received $10,000, $20,000 or more for a gold medal in any country where an Olympic team is selected to represent the country, and the Commonwealth Games being second only to the Olympic Games, in anyone’s estimate, would be worth a lot more to any country.”

Mayers said she had a bittersweet experience here, as the love and warmth shown by Vincentians to her on her short visit back home did not match the treatment meted out to her by the NOC.

Mayers, who made a courtesy call to Prime Minister Ralph Gonsalves, the day prior to her return, said he promised to seek some assistance for her through funding from the National Lotteries Authority.

President of the NOC, Trevor Bailey, told SEARCHLIGHT also on Monday that the funds given to Mayers were a gesture of appreciation for her efforts and not necessarily a payment.

“This is the most we could afford at this time, as 2010 was very hard year for us, having to finance three major games,” Bailey reasoned.

“In Natasha’s case, it is normally the government and the private sector who reward such athletes, when they have achieved these kind of milestones,” the NOC President said.

“We do not get a preparation grant for the Commonwealth Games nor the Central American and Caribbean Games(CAC),” he added.

Bailey is, however, assuring Mayers that she will get preparation monies for the upcoming Pan Am Games and the Olympic Games.(RT)