California-based Vincentian sprint star, Natasha Mayers, says she needs financial help as she prepares to defend next year the gold medal she won at the Commonwealth Games in 2010.
Mayers was awarded gold in the 100 metres in the 2010 Games, after two other athletes were disqualified after the event.
“The last time when I won the Commonwealth Games, I was able to fund preparations … because I had worked for two years as a school teacher,” Mayers, the first Vincentian woman to win a Commonwealth Games medal, told I-Witness News.
“But, right now, it is very difficult; I am not getting any type of help to even prepare for this competition,” she said.
“I don’t want to be rude, but there is no value in the athlete. I guess there is a lack of understanding of what it takes to win a Commonwealth gold medal like I did. And because there is this lack of understanding, I am not getting any kind of help towards any type of preparation for these games, which is important,” she said.
The 20th edition of the Commonwealth Games will be held in Glasgow, Scotland July 23 to Aug. 3, 2014, and Mayers noted that Jamaica, England, and Australia will also take part in the Games
“These are some of the biggest countries with athletes. They understand what it means, because, Jamaica, you read their newspapers … [and] you read about their preparations for these games,” Mayers said.
She said it is “the hope” that she again represents St. Vincent and the Grenadines at the Games.
“However, I really want to emphasise that I need help to do so, because, if I don’t make the standard, I can’t represent the country. And I won’t be able to make the standard unless I get some assistance. I need financial assistance; that’s what it takes,” she said.
Mayers said that living in the United States, it takes US$2,500 a month to pay for her training for the games.
She said that while preparing for the 2010 Games, she wrote to the Olympic Committee, and a state official in SVG.
“… I really didn’t get any type of feedback or any help,” she said.
She said that she used to teach in California, “but it just became very difficult in the last two years to teach and to run”, adding that she has since started a fitness instruction business.
Mayers, 34, has been living in the United States since she was 11.
In 2000, she made the Olympic standard but was not yet a U.S. citizen and competed for SVG in 2004 Olympic Games, when she was top 10 in the world.
“But I was top 10 in the world because I was running for the University of Southern California and I was getting a lot of assistance for everything — academic and athletics. That’s when I was at my absolute best,” she told I-Witness News.
It is great when a person take pride in representing his/her country. It is daunting to know that people with the ability and drive to succeed is not encouraged by their own people. I think this is a great opportunity for PM Ralph Gonsalves and other SVG officials to encourage the people of St Vincent and the Grenadines to strive for the best. I am hoping these leaders stand up to this challenge and support Natasha Mayers in her endeavors. I also hope the people of SVG make an honest attempt to show their support as well. For once lets all support our own. Jamaica does it, America does it, France does it, SVG can do it also. UNITED WE STAND. I hope this doesn’t go on deaf ears.
At 34, your track career is basically over, especially for sprinters, unless you are Kim Collins or Merlene Ottey. This is the period of your life, where you begin to make that transition to another career and it would appear that Ms Mayers had already done that with her “teaching”…but given the fact that the games kick off in less than a year’s time; it seems that Ms Mayers just recently made up her mind to defend her Commonwealth title and is now “scrambling” to get finance.
Very proud to see that you are once again taking pride to defend your title and represent your country. Very sad to see that you have to ask for help, after helping that country to make its mark on the athletic map. Shame on them. 34 or not, it takes drive and talent to do what you love and clearly you have both. Age should not be such a factor, support is what is necessary. Who else is there to represent that country. Never heard of another athlete to make it that far. Pride SVG….. Jamaica is showing that and influencing their team. That goes a long way!
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