The International Olympic Committee (IOC) has increased its budget by US$10.3 million following the postponement of the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games to 2021. All 206 IOC members including the Barbados Olympic Association (BOA) are expected to receive a portion of those funds.
BOA assistant secretary-general Cameron Burke said during a recent virtual media conference that they were not yet certain as to what percentage Barbados would receive but explained that a proposal first needed to be drafted and sent to the Olympic Solidarity for approval.
“With all solidarity programmes, all NOCs have to submit a proposal with a budget and based on that budget, Olympic Solidarity will approve a sum. Olympic Solidarity would approve let us say a million dollars for preparation. We would submit a budget, let us say it will cost us USD$50, 000, so Olympic Solidarity will look at that along with the other requests that they have and then make a determination how much they will provide,” Burke said.
This particular funding will go towards the Olympic scholarship for Tokyo 2020 where a total of six Barbadian athletes will benefit. They are Alex Sobers (swimming), Michael Mascoll (shooting), Darian King (lawn tennis), Shane Brathwaite (track and field), Tia-Adana Belle and Sade Williams (track and field).
Burke explained that the Olympic Scholarship programme was extended until August 2021 and will cover the monthly stipend of athletes until the Games next year. Also, the BOA Assistant Secretary-General said that with the new dates, all of BOA’s funding agencies – Olympic Solidarity, Pan Am Sports, Barbados Lottery and now the Gaming Operation set up by Government to collect taxes from the slot and the Vertical Turning Lathes machines – have relaxed most of their funding guidelines and allowed for more flexibility in the use of the funds.
“We have six athletes in that programme, which means they will continue to receive monthly stipends until the games. We will also benefit from an increase in NOC Games Operational subsidy as well as additional funding relating to exceptional Games-related costs incurred due to the postponement, e.g., increase in team size.
“Pan Am Sports will do similar and this Commission will be meeting on Wednesday to formulate a proposal for submission to these funding agencies. Among the things we will be considering will be extended overseas training camps as part of the preparation for qualifying competitions. So, ladies and gentlemen, as you have heard there is lots of work ahead. While we recognise the uncertainty of the times, the BOA will be ensuring that we are ready to go when the all-clear is given,” Burke said.
While host country Japan took a financial hit due to the setback of the Tokyo 2020 Olympics, BOA thankfully has not found itself in such a position.
“Certainly, from the board perspective, we would have purchased a couple of airline tickets for those that were required to accompany the delegation. But as you know the airlines have been exceedingly generous in terms of allowing people to cancel flights and being able to rebook without any penalties. So, from that perspective I think that we are alright,” he said.