Mikel Thomas is excited about his role on the Board of the recently-launched organisation, The Athletics Association. Thomas and Bahamian Shaunae Miller-Uibo, the reigning Olympic women’s 400 metres champion, are representing athletes in the Americas.
Thomas, who captured men’s 110m metres hurdles silver for Trinidad and Tobago at the 2015 Pan American Games, told the Express his involvement with The Athletics Association is an opportunity to give back to the sport.
“The ambition is to protect and promote the sport; to allow athletes a place to unite our voice and have a role to play in many of the vital decisions in and around our sport. There is a lot of work to do, to engage and unite the athletes and find productive ways to enact and collaborate with the sports bodies and stakeholders. I’m excited to help stand in the gap for the sport we love.
“I would want to see Trinidad and Tobago become a central voice, of knowledge, information, and opportunities. There’s work to do to make that happen. I’m hoping that athletes would want to get on board to actually make a difference and live out the best possible career they can have, and be in a strong position to transition to whatever they would like to do afterwards.”
Two-time Olympic men’s triple jump champion Christian Taylor is president of The Athletics Association. His fellow American, 2017 women’s 3,000m steeplechase world champion Emma Coburn is the vice president.
“I know Christian from when I was based at University of Florida,” said Thomas. “There’s no going back. We have to do this together, past present and future. The beautiful part is we have major athletes engaged--Olympic champions and global medallists. That’s a vital part of the fight.”
Thomas, who is pursuing a Masters in Sports Management at the International Academy of Sport Science and Technology (AISTS) in Lausanne, Switzerland, is keen to bring his AISTS experiences to the table.
“I’m here to support and help lay a strong foundation for impact, work my strengths as a communicator and knowledge of organised sports living in Europe and studying in the Olympic capital.
“To all athletes who have been short-changed, have felt neglected, who know there is more in you and out there to achieve, join us. If not now, our sport continues to die in front of our eyes.”
Thomas said he continues to enjoy the AISTS course.
“I have an International Testing Agency (ITA) internship. I’ll continue a project I’ve been working on, developing a clean sport education plan. This too speaks to my mission in protecting and promoting the sport through engagement and education. I want to help change the conversation around clean sport rather than anti-doping and away from the idea of it being just police of the sport.
“I still need support,” Thomas continued, “to finish paying for my tuition--U$8,000. Even with all I’ve been able to do, it’s still very hard. I consistently fight not just for sport but to continue to raise the flag as a global ambassador in rooms we’ve never been to. It’s an honour. I hope the right people will see my heart, passion and commitment, and support my honest efforts to make a difference.”
Thomas said training is not currently high up on his list of priorities.
“Training has been slow, but in the coming weeks I will be more settled in my roles with better balance. My focus is not on what I can get from the sport but what I can give. I’m really finding a sweet spot in preparation for a sport transition, and I’m excited for the future ahead.”