Juliette John, a former athlete and relative of some of the young T&T cyclists, yesterday expressed frustration with what she regards as poor support for the athletes from the T&T Cycling Federation (TTCF).
An upset John accused the Federation of not trying hard enough to help the team acquire sponsorship, delaying preparations for the team, and failing to keep the team updated on their situation.
Members of the team held raffles and other fund-raisers to offset some of the costs associated with the trip, as the boys and girls sprint teams secured berths at the Championships following gold medal performances at the Pan American Championships in April.
John blamed TTCF president Rowena Williams for a lack of effort.
"Between April and August she [Williams] could have contacted sponsors to help those athletes, but she did not," John claimed, stating that the cycling head failed to contact the Office of the Prime Minister for assistance as promised.
She also said Williams was slow in getting funds from the Sport Company of T&T (SPORTT) required to purchase tickets for the athletes.
According to John, the money was only released two days before the athletes were scheduled to leave, forcing the team to depart in three different groups between last Wednesday and Thursday.
TTCF president Williams, however, said there were no deliberate efforts to delay the team, adding that team manager Fitzroy Daniel was always updated and responsible for informing the team about preparations.
"The team has left a week before the event and [John is saying] there is a delay," Williams told the Express. "The event starts on August 22, I don't understand. I can't comprehend what is being said. The Federation did their part to assist in accordance to plans and according to approval."
Williams added: "These things happen because we have to go through certain approvals. That is not an issue. We have to go through all the procedures and protocol [to be approved for funding]."
By Kern De Freitas