Sunday, February 26, 2006
His name is Pamenos Ballantyne and he is the region's leading marathon runner.Hailing from Sandy Bay,the heartland of this island's Carib descendants controversy always seems to surround him.He has received as much accolades as he has condemnations throughout the length of his career.You may say it is practically a love/hate relationship between him and some sections of the Vincentian public.In the middle of all this have been some very public fights between him and the St Vincent and the Grenadines Athletic Association.Pamenos,in the not too distant past has even threatened to run under the Trinadadian flag where he would supposedly be better treated than by his compatriots.
The newest controversy in the long running saga stems from his ommission from the SVG team to the Commonwealth games.It is impossible to declare that SVG's best team was picked minus Pamenos Ballantyne and naturally eyebrows would be raised.Never one to back away from controversy,Pamenos took to the airwaves to speak about the vendetta launched against him by the President of the SVGAAA.Next up was the turn of the politicians with PM Gonsalves questioning Ballanytne's ommission while handing over the Sports Pesonality of the year trophy to him.Not to be outdone Sports Minister Glen Beache lent his voice to the debate during last week's sitting of Parliament.Since then the topic has dominated the airwaves with a petition drive being organised to ensure that Pamenos takes his rightful spot on Tean SVG's team.
While am yet to hear an official reason from the SVGAAA statements attributed to its President have been making the rounds.“It is not advisable for anyone to compete in more than two marathons over a 12-month period as this will have a severe strain on their body,” the AP quoted Joseph as saying.“We cannot take such a risk because if we selected him and something is to happen - such as he collapsing during the event - we will have to take all the blame,” Joseph was further reported as saying.Ballantyne,who was the winner of the Jamaica reggae marathon in December and 2nd in Trinidad's Clico marathon in January has dismissed the claim as rubbish.
I hold no brief for Pamenos who most times I find to be boorish,immature and guilty of being his own worst enemy.However,there is no denying that he has represented this country well and I would have loved seeing him on the team.On,the other hand if the President's claims are real then the decision is probably within his best interest.Unfortunately,with the hysteria that is taking place it may be nigh impossible to really find out exactly why he was omitted.Meantime,the debate is set to run a marathon course of its own
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