Brijesh Lawrence, who has just graduated from college, says that now that he is no longer being supported by his college it is going to be very difficult for him to meet the requisite expenses, related to training for the Olympics.
Memories of the success gained by Lawrence and the St. Kitts and Nevis relay team in the 2011 IAAF World Championships are still lingering in the minds of every citizen of St. Kitts and Nevis.
The pride, the joy and the honour brought to this small nation when Kim Collins, Jason Rogers, Antoine Adams and Brijesh Lawrence clocked 38.49 to win the bronze medal and write their names and that of their country, into the records of the 2011 IAAF World Championships, are emotional feelings that will last forever.
Then again at the XVI Pan-American Games in Guadalajara, Mexico, 2011, Lawrence and his team-mates made their country proud when they won the silver medal, the first for the country in that major event.
In spite of that impressive record, Lawrence is finding it more than a challenge to prepare and has taken to social media to launch his appeal for help.
“Hello to all, thank you for visiting my gofundme page. My name is Brijesh Lawrence and I am looking for your support to help me qualify for my 2nd Olympic Games and to catapult my professional track career into successful and memorable one.”
The Kittitian athlete reminded that he competed in the 4X100 meter relay at the 2012 London Olympic Games, representing his country.
He explained that he did so while simultaneously competing at the collegiate level, and therefore could not benefit from potential sponsors, because such commercial arrangements were not allowed.
“I recently graduated (Dec 2013) and now I won’t be able to depend on my college paying for equipment, training facilities, nutrition, travel etc. I will be moving to Las Vegas, Nevada on February 1st, 2014 to train with a professional coach and elite athletes like myself,” said Lawrence in his social media posting.
He explained that to have an effective transition he is going to need as much help as possible. “Being an Olympic athlete and a World Championship medalist you would think I would have plenty of sponsorships, but unfortunately I don’t,” said the athlete.
Lawrence also made the alarming declaration that he is not presently being supported financially by the St. Kitts and Nevis Amateur Athletic Association, SKNAAA, or the government.
“I am currently receiving zero financial support from my country or the governing athletic association. It is a very small country so funds are limited and hard to find even in supporting its best athletes.”
However, in an exclusive interview with the President of the SKNAAA, Glenn Jeffers, on Monday afternoon, (23rd December, 2013), MiyVue.com was advised that Lawrence received funding from the body up to August this year, during the period of the World Championships.
The president further explained that his organization is not against offering additional assistance but he explained that the funds that are used to support the athletes originate from the National Olympic Committee, NOC. The SKNAAA itself, explained Jeffers, does not have the financial capability to support the athletes, but instead they rely on grants from the NOC.
However, because there were certain outstanding disciplinary issues from the London 2012 Olympics, that had to be settled, as directed by the National Olympic Committee, the funding of any athlete who qualify for such assistance, would only come into place once the SKNAAA had taken steps, and so too the athletes in question, to reach a resolution.
The SKNAAA president indicated to MiyVue.com that Lawrence has since taken steps to help resolve the matters related to him personally. He did so in a letter to SKNAAA on 17th December, 2013, accepting responsibility for any actions that may have caused him to be in breach of SKNAAA or NOC protocols.
The matter of restoring funding for Lawrence should therefore be back on track but SKNAAA would now be required, as they are a currently doing, to report back to the NOC, and if they are satisfied, then some support could be restored to Lawrence.
Meanwhile, Lawrence in his social media campaign assured potential supporters/contributors to his special fund, that “The money I receive from all of you will go a long way with helping me achieve my goals. I would use your donations to aid with the cost of living in Las Vegas, gym fees, travel to competition, nutrition and supplements, and physiotherapy which are all vital to my success. Thank you, any amount will help and it is very much appreciated!”
Lawrence also provided information to guide would be contributors, “If you would like to follow me on my journey to the 2016 Rio Olympic Games please like my Facebook fan page where you keep up to date on all my travels and competitions.
The next Olympics will be staged in Brazil in the summer of 2016.