by Loshuan Dixon
SUPPORTERS of Kim Collins have started a petition entitled “IAAF: To allow Kim Collins to compete at the World Athletics Championships” on the website www.change.org in an effort to see the sprint icon compete amongst the world’s best in August.
Collins was not selected by the St. Kitts-Nevis Amateur Athletic Association (SKNAAA) as part of the team to represent the Federation at the World Championships in Moscow, which will be held in less than three weeks, citing his failure to satisfy the prerequisites that would have made him eligible for selection.
Collins had made headline news the world over when he was barred from participating in the London Olympics after he allegedly went missing for a number of days.
Consequently, the 37-year-old athlete vowed to never represent the country of his birth again. But in an interview with the BBC after breaking the national record in the 100 meters last week, it seems as though he had a change of heart.
Public Relations Officer of the SKNAAA Evris Huggins declared that in order for an athlete to gain selection to represent the Federation, he or she must satisfy the requisite procedure, which Collins did not.
“To be eligible for selection, athletes must participate in the set SKNAAA National Championships or must have received an exemption from the SKNAAA Executive body upon receipt of a written request for a waiver one month prior to the National Championships.”
The PRO noted that Collins failed to show up at the National Championships held at the Silver Jubilee Stadium.
“Policies always prevail in sports. Sports is a discipline, and at the National Club Championships there were no sign of Kim Collins.”
He further noted that so far Collins has failed to satisfy those protocols.
“At this stage, Kim Collins has not met any prerequisite to represent St. Kitts and Nevis with the exception of him running a qualifying performance. And a qualifying performance alone does not equate to one’s eligibility to be selected.”
In response to the decision, a petition has started by ‘Let Kim Run’ on www. Change.org, entitled “IAAF: To allow Kim Collins to compete at the World Athletics Championships”. A Twitter handle of @LetKimRun was also established but has been suspended. Twitter campaigns of #LetKimCollins run and LetKimrun were also started in an effort to see the sprinter at the World Games.
By publication, 366 individuals had signed the petition on www. Change.org, which includes a list of reasons the person behind the petition believes Collins should be allowed to compete.
Individuals to have signed the petition come from diverse cultures, including France, Belgium, Australia Slovakia and the United Kingdom .
The #LetKimRun campaign had yielded 71 tweets while making over 120 000 timeline deliveries, and the #LetKimCollinRun movement had 78 tweets and over 45 000 timeline deliveries.
When asked for a comment on the issue, President of the SKNAAA Glen Jeffers stated that he was unaware of any such petition and his Association could not do anything about it.
“Persons have a right to petition but I am unaware of any. But if there is a petition the SKNAAA cannot do anything to stop them.”
The petition states, “The IAAF should allow Kim Collins to compete for the following reasons: “Kim Collins is currently the fastest athlete from St. Kitts & Nevis, this year and of all time, in the 100 meters. He has ran 9.97 seconds which is a Personal Best and National Record. He has ran under 10 seconds twice this year which no other athlete from his country has done.
“In winning the 100 meters at the 2003 World Championships, Collins brought positive global attention to his nation; The victory made it the first ever gold medal achieved by an St. Kitts & Nevis (SKN) athlete at the World Championships. Collins had also won the first medal ever for St. Kitts & Nevis at the 2001 World Championships in the 200 meters. He was also their first ever Olympic finalist at the Sydney Olympics and has been the flag bearer at the Olympics three times.
“There is a Day in Collins’s honour and road named after Kim Collins showing the impact he has made on his nation.
“Collins has coached athletes, such as Jason Rodgers, who have gone on to represent SKN and also helped SKN win a relay medal for the first time ever at the World Championships; The relay team also included Collins. This shows he has given back to the sport in another capacity other than competing.
“Collins has won five outdoor world championship medals and two world indoor medals, which includes one Gold, despite having slower personal bests than most athletes. This shows that Collins is a positive role model that is always striving to succeed to despite the odds.
“Collins has attended four Olympic Games (96,00,04,08) and nine World Championships (95,97,99,01,03,05,07,09,11). The amount of championships Collins has attended shows a high level commitment to the sport.
“Collins has never broke the rules of the IAAF, has never been banned and he is one of the most respected athletes in the sport. It is only fair he should get special exemption for his contribution to the sport and his nation.
“In 2009, the president of the IAAF, Lamine Diack, held special talks with the Jamaican Athletics Administrive Association (JAAA), to allow the athletes of the Jamaican-Based MVP training group (which includes athletes such as Asafa Powell and Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce) to be allowed to compete at the Berlin World Championships after being banned for not attending the JAAA’s training camp. The athletes were eventually allowed to compete after discussions between the federation and Mr. Diack. (This shows that discussions between the authorities should be at least held)
“He has the support of many of his fans and fellow athletes of the sport which this petition will prove.”