President of the Trinidad and Tobago Cycling Federation (TTCF), Rowena Williams has defended the local cycling fraternity on the issue of not purchasing Njisane Phillip’s Olympic qualifier ticket for the International Cycling Union (UCI) World Cup in Astana, Kazakhstan.
Williams revealed that the situation was not in the control of the TTCF and shifted the blame to financial constraints in the Ministry of Sport and the Sport Company of Trinidad and Tobago (SPORTT). “It’s a very unfortunate event that happened with Njisane. There were some issues in the SPORTT Company with the receiving of Njisane’s funds for Astana. We (TTCF) are not in control of the distribution of funds, but we did the required proposals and sent it to them (SPORTT). These are the monetary constraints that we have to work with. I personally am not too pleased with what went on,” explained Williams.
The TTCF president admitted that Phillip’s step-father (Phillip Whiteman), was aware that he had to buy the ticket due to the Ministry’s financial issues. She stated that Whiteman would be reimbursed for the money spent on the Astana ticket. Williams also explained
that money will be allocated for the forthcoming Olympic qualifiers in Cali, Beijing and London.
“He (Whiteman) knew that he had to buy the ticket. I don’t know what happened and they did not get the Schengen visa. We would like to make sure that Phillip gets the needed support but we were not in control of the situation,” continued Williams.
In response to Willliams’ remarks, Whiteman disagreed and criticised the Federation for being too laid-back. Whiteman explained that he sent the proposal to the TTCF since October 8 and it was only handed over to the SPORTT Company (by TTCF) on Monday (October 31).
“Firstly I was not supposed to buy the ticket. This is the third time I have done this (bought ticket). I bought the ticket last minute when it was not bought (by either TTCF/ Ministry of Sport/ SPORTT Company) and did not even think about a transit (Shenghen) visa. If they had known their responsibility it would not have been last minute,” he said.
By JONATHAN RAMNANANSINGH