Sporting a Glimmer of Hope

Athlete Development Fund the catalyst to the future of TCI sports.

By Nandina Hislop, Media and Communications Specialist, TCI Sports Commission
and Jarrett Forbes, Director of Sports, TCI Sports Commission ~ Photos by Nandina Hislop

The Turks & Caicos Islands, like many other Caribbean countries, is passionate about sports. South Caicos has a rich history in producing great jumpers, North Caicos is fervent about the throws, Grand Turk is known for their sprinters, while Providenciales has served as a hub of development for all sports. Despite limited funding, we have achieved 17 international medals in sports such as Track and Field, Swimming, Football and Golf over the past 5 years.

Folks in the Turks & Caicos Islands are passionate about sports, and the Athlete Development Fund is a catalyst towards developing more great athletes from the country.

The Turks & Caicos Islands are a small nation made up of approximately 40,000 people, yet we audaciously go up against formidable forces like Jamaica and The Bahamas to fight for a spot on the podium. We have seen successes in the past with athletes like Delano Williams in Track and Field and more recently Kurt Rivers in Golf. However, due to our archipelago’s layout—along with other realities—funding, equal access to facilities, and coaching expertise continues to be a challenge.

Great athletes all have similar things in common—   talent, determination, support, and adequate funding. Many countries around the region are heavily supported by the Olympic Solidarity Fund along with a national sport funding system. However, the TCI currently is not an associated member of the International Olympic Committee (IOC), nor do we have a national sport funding system.  We, therefore, found it important to find a way to provide additional resources to our sports organisations and athletes through the creation of the Athlete Development Fund (ADF).

What is the ADF?

The Athlete Development Fund (ADF) was established by the TCI Sports Commission with the support of key stakeholders in the community who have an interest in youth development through sports. With funding now available, the ADF was first launched in June 2022, coinciding with the Turks & Caicos Islands’ first Long-Term Athlete Development Symposium. This launch sparked the partnership between the private and public sectors for sport funding. 

Love Joseph catches his breath at the Track and Field CARIFTA Games 2023 in The Bahamas.

Funding is provided to eligible organisations for programming that supports long-term athlete development, with an emphasis on high-performance development.  The ADF’s objectives are to:

• increase opportunities to participate in quality sport activities for all Turks & Caicos Islands, including under-represented groups;

• increase the capacity of the Turks & Caicos Islands sport system to systematically achieve world-class results at the highest international competitions;

• contribute to the provision of technical sport leadership within the Turks & Caicos Islands sports system; and

• advance Turks & Caicos Islands’ interests, values, and ethics in sports at home and abroad.

What do the athletes think?

Recently, we watched 15-year-old Love Joseph win his first regional medal at the 50th CARIFTA Games in the 17U Boys 3000m, after competing in the event for the FIRST TIME. Love is also a basketball athlete who dedicates hours of his time perfecting his craft. He is an example of talent and determination working its magic. Joseph expressed his admiration for the programme as a flag bearer who is a potential recipient of the funding. He conveyed, “The ADF support will enable me to concentrate better, with the assurance of financial backing. Moreover, I can participate in a greater number of global meets, which helps me establish a notable name for myself on the international stage.”

Another eligible recipient, Double CARIFTA Bronze Medalist Antwon Walkin, returned home with two bronze medals this year, sparking inspiration among the TCI residents with his performance. Antwon also broke the TCI Men’s Discus Throw National Record twice in two months! He shares, “I believe the ADF is a solid concept and has the potential to help bridge the gap between the TCI and our regional comparatives in sports.”

How does the ADF give support?

National Men’s Team player Kristen Howell kicks the ball at the TCISS Inter-High Football Game.

The fund provides financial support to two key objectives: long-term athlete development and podium excellence.The concept of long-term athlete development is targeted investment throughout an athlete’s journey from grassroots to senior level, with aims of achieving podium excellence.

Examples of long-term athlete development projects include:

• sports training camps;

• sports leagues and/or tournaments;

• education of coaches and officials;  

• rental/purchase of sport equipment;

• rental of sports facilities.

Any registered entity in good standing with the Turks & Caicos Islands Government whose function or mandate is sport development is eligible to apply. This can be sports associations or clubs.

Podium excellence funding supports the delivery of high-performance programmes. High-potential athletes who may enter the podium pathway on recommendation from the National Sports Governing Body can apply for this type of funding.

This can be used for:

• sports performance centre programming and services including sport science services;

• training (including travel, meals, accommodation, and facility rental);

• Competitions (including travel, meals, accommodation, facility rental, and competition fees).

How do we decide who gets what?

The Athlete Development Fund Committee will determine and prioritise investment strategies for sports associations, federations, clubs, and athletes to enhance sport development within the Turks & Caicos Islands. Athletes and Sport National Governing Bodies would submit the application form with all required documents to: info@tciathletedevelopmentfund.com which can be found at www.tciathletedevelopmentfund.com.

How can you support the ADF?

If you or your organisation is interested in supporting the Athlete Development Fund, contact us at info@tciathletedevelopmentfund.com. To learn more about the ADF, visit www.tciathletedevelopmentfund.com.

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