SDF willing to consider stipend for athletes
General manager of the Sports Development Foundation (SDF), Denzil Wilks, said that he would consider suggestions from national sporting associations to implement an 'athletes development fund' geared to providing a monthly stipend for individual athletes, who are trying to become professionals in various sporting disciplines.
It is widely believed that lack of funding is the reason why many Jamaican athletes, who have shown tremendous potential as juniors, do not make the transition to the senior level and Wilks believes that something like an 'athlete development fund' could bridge that gap.
The method was applied two years ago in the lead up to the 2016 Olympic Games, when the SDF provided more than $4 million dollars per month for a group of track and field athletes, who were vying for spots on the Olympic team. However, it was stopped after the Games.
"It is something that we are aware of and we would certainly give it consideration," Wilks told The Gleaner. "The JAAA (Jamaica Athletics Administrative Association) would have wanted that programme (leading up to the Olympics) to continue because they know that it would help with the transition."
He continued: "It would look at those, who are coming straight out of school and would assist them getting into clubs and having the things needed for their development."
Wilks acknowledged though that it would be difficult to provide funding for athletes from across all of the sporting organisations.
He said that he hoping all the stakeholders can come together to see whether the proposal is feasible.
"I know the Jamaica Olympic Association is looking at some development programmes and I would hope that there may be some discussions between the various parties; with the stakeholders including ourselves to see whether or not we can give it that serious consideration," Wilks said.
The SDF is entirely funded by the Cultural, Health, Arts, Sports and Education (CHASE) Fund.