#191 Lords Bank Village
Email: [email protected]
Neri O. Briceño
July 4, 2016
President International Olympics Committee
Chateau de Vidy
Case Postale 356
1001 Lausanne, Switzerland
SUBJECT: Belize Olympic Selection Rio
Dear Mr. President:
I write to you as simply a man; without medals, honours, positions and titles; just an ordinary man. A man who has put his faith in the fact that the Olympics has always represented equality, fairness and honesty towards all mankind, irrespective of gender, race, culture or country of origin. The Belize Athletics Association has erred in its selection for Female Athletics (Track and Field) for the 2016 Rio Games in Brazil. The Association chose Katy Sealy, a naturalized Belizean living in the UK, over Belizean-born and indigenous Garifuna, Kaina D. Martinez. All indications are that this was a totally unfair decision which was not made in the interest of the nation of Belize or in the spirit of the Olympics.
We are requesting that the IOC immediately look at the circumstances surrounding this decision and that all efforts are made to include Miss Martinez in Rio 2016 when the true facts surface. We are convinced that the following factors contributed to Katy Sealy’s selection:
1. Miss Martinez has been one of the most successful athletes in recent Belizean history and has the best professional record to represent Belize. Why then did the committee choose Katy?
2. The Belize Athletics Association and Miss Martinez differ widely in their accounts of documentation that were to be filled out and provided by Miss Martinez which subsequently resulted in her disqualification. Only a rapid enquiry into this matter will clear this up.
3. Sports in the tiny nation of Belize has always been marred by governmental politics, promotion of personal interest, financial corruption and improprieties. We ask that once the Olympics are concluded, that the IOC do a comprehensive audit of all organizations which receive Olympic funding. The most pressing question that must be asked to the ordinary man on the street is what they feel the BAA and the Belize National Olympic Committee has contributed to the overall Belizean society.
4. The fact that Miss Martinez is a Garifuna. The Garifuna people have long been a people that have largely been discriminated against, marginalized and oppressed in Belize and this is no secret. In a time when the promotion of all things indigenous is being heralded, we find this absolutely unacceptable. The Olympics has a long history of promoting indigenous athletes, like Cathy Freeman and Jim Thorpe. Just take a look at a picture of Kathy Sealy and you will understand.
We consider this matter extremely urgent if the IOC is to maintain any type of credibility in the Belizean society … Citius, Altius, Fortius!
Neri O. Briceño
cc: Deon Sutherland, President Belize Athletics Association
Jackie Valdez, Belize National Olympic Committee
Kaina D. Martinez
Sandra Miranda, President National Garifuna Council