Carifta swimmers get reprieve $3,000 payment waived

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Parents of the 33-member Trinidad and Tobago swim team and the 11-member water polo team no longer have to fork out $3,000 for their participation in the 31st edition of the March 21-26 Carifta Swimming Championships in Martinique. And the Amateur Swimming Association of Trinidad and Tobago (ASATT) must reimburse those who have already paid.

ASATT was called to a meeting Monday with officials of the Sports Company of Trinidad and Tobago (SporTT) to discuss “matters pertaining to the management of state funds allocated for this country’s participation at the Carifta Swimming Championships in Martinique from 22-26 March 2016.”

At issue was ASATT’s request for a $3,000 contribution from athletes selected for the Carifta team, “citing a need to supplement its funding for future tournaments.” SporTT officials were alerted to the payment after parents of Carifta members made inquiries at the SporTT headquarters last week.

But according to a joint statement issued by the SporTT Communications Department and ASATT yesterday, it was stated: “As one of the National Governing Bodies (NGBs) under SporTT’s purview, the state company raised a concern regarding the ASATT’s request to the Carifta athletes, given that all the costs associated with the team’s participation were being met by SporTT. It was agreed that the $3,000 contribution requirement be withdrawn and that athletes who had already made the payment would be fully reimbursed.”

The ASATT through its president Joseph Mc Leod had explained that the association faced an estimated $500,000 deficit, carried over from the hosting of the 2015 Goodwill Swimming Championships, which reduced ASATT’s 2016 original swimming allocation of $1.2 million to an estimated $700,000.

The release yesterday said that looking ahead to the next tournament, CISC Swimming Championships in Bahamas from June 16-19, “it was agreed that SporTT would cover the cost of athletes who have achieved the ‘A’ qualifying standard (podium/final time) in light of ASATT’s limited remaining state allocation for the financial year.”

These two developments were conveyed to the ASATT Council at their meeting Tuesday night.

But there was an incentive for other qualifiers.

“Athletes who have attained the ‘B’ qualifying standard (minimum qualification time) could choose to attend at their own expense. However, should the ‘B’ standard athletes medal in their events, their expenses would be reimbursed. It was also agreed that ASATT would review and determine the optimal use of their subvention balance in relation to contingent sizes for the rest of the financial year,” the statement explained.

To mitigate against future shortfalls, “SporTT’s Business Development Unit intends to work alongside the swimming body to attract private sector funding and sponsorship deals to supplement the annual subvention,” the release concluded.

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