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Some observers speculated that there was more than what was being shared with the public; that a lot of what was happening was personal rather than professional. Now the coach of Kim Collins, Paula Collins, who is a former national track star for her native country Jamaica, seems to be confirming that indeed the long standing “bad blood” between both sides, played a part in what unfolded and resulted in Kim Collins not participating in the Games.
Taking to local radio on Monday morning, (13th August, 2012), Mrs. Collins, said the relationship between Kim and the athletic officials deteriorated earlier in the year when there was a major disagreement over the decision of the St. Kitts & Nevis Amateur Athletic Association, (SKNAAA), to request a 20% commission, from fees earned by athletes under their watch.
“The whole thing started from the 20% thing earlier this year. What people are seeing manifesting now did not start at the Olympics; it is a lot of anger and animosity.”
“The thing about the 20% earlier this year, I was the one who took Kim to the office in town (SKNAAA) to sit in a meeting, so we could discuss. Lester Hanley (Team SKN Manager at the London Games), came out publicly and lied about what happened with the 20%,” claimed Mrs. Collins.
“All of this had to come out at some point, because there is a lot of truth that Kim refused to speak on and sometimes you say let it go away, or let it slide. I am not even sure if it is the right decision coming on air, being that I am ‘so liked’ in this country by especially the female. I find it very funny that it is female who are doing the attack on me,” stated Mrs. Collins.
Mrs. Collins is also the coach for two other athletes, (Jason Rogers and Lestrod Roland), who, in addition to her husband (Kim), represented the country at this year’s Olympics. She said the poor relations also carried over with top officials in the St. Kitts and Nevis National Olympic Committee, SKNOC.
“Alphonso Bridgewater, (President of SKNOC) came to me and asked me to get between them and Kim. Alphonso Bridgewater knows what he has done to Kim in the past some 20 years, so there is a constant battle and a constant strife between them. All of this is just playing out on air and it has to be played out now,“ stated the coach.
Mrs. Collins also used the interview to address comments about her coaching qualifications and abilities and questions about why she should have been allowed access to the athletes while in London. “I am a professional. I give a service to the St. Kitts Olympic and track committee and I don’t understand where this is all coming from. I am a working coach in St. Kitts. Mornings I am out there in the sun and I hate the sun, but if Kim says you should do it, I am going to do it.”
“Glen Jeffers, (President SKNAAA and Secretary General of SKNOC), came to me and specifically asked me to train two of the athletes that are running on the relay team. They came to me and beg me for my husband to come back on the St. Kitts and Nevis relay team; in my house, in my living room, when Kim was not interested.”
“Earlier this year Kim did not want to go back out to run for St. Kitts and I told him, Kim forget it and I know that this is something that you want, but don’t allow people to get inside your head.”
“When Jason was going off to the NACAC meet, he called me the Monday morning upset, because the coach that went with him sent him… and Lestrod Roland a program. They were like… they got a program from this coach who doesn’t even know what we are doing. I called Glen Jeffers asking him what the issue was. He told me he would get back to Stuart Joseph. Stuart called me and told me it was an accident sending my athletes a program. You can’t send athletes a program, days before a competition and you don’t know what the athlete has been doing. The young men I take them into my home… they are like my babies. I am very passionate about what I do. These guys are (part of a) a project that I have started and I am very passionate about it.”
“Jason was not speaking to Stuart at the time, because he was an old coach of his in high school and he said he had sabotaged him and he was upset, and I told him you cannot go out and represent a country with anger; you have to get rid of that. They have chosen this man to go with you and I was explaining to him what anger does. And here… them coming at me and disrespecting Kim and people don’t see the sacrifice when Kim does not want to participate in stuff and I have to suppress myself so that I can let Kim go out and face the public.”
“I never wanted to go to London. Kim insisted that I come to London, leaving my kids behind because of my athletes. When I went to London, I was shocked when I saw Kim. Kim was tired and I don’t have to say the situation in every detail, but I was shocked. I was afraid of him running Saturday morning with what was going on.”
When asked if she felt Kim was wrong in his actions, Coach Collins said, “Kim did not do anything wrong because something would have happened, one way or the other. I saw the email the night; that they were putting them on curfew, after so many years of representing a country. It is not a one off thing. There are tons of athletes not staying in the village because they want peace of mind, because it is a community and if you are not ready 2 or 3 days before your race at the Olympics, you will never be ready again.”