BY ROMULUS HUTA
NATIONAL female weightlifting representative Jenly Wini has blasted the Ministry of Home Affairs for prolonging the cash award payment promised to them.
This follows the empty envelopes given to them at last Friday’s awards presentation held at the Cowboys Bar and Grill in Honiara.
The payment is to reward their efforts for winning medals at last year’s Pacific Mini Games in Vanuatu.
However, in Wini’s case, it’s quite different. Her Mini Games reward will double with her achievement from last April’s Gold Coast Commonwealth Games.
Her bronze medal becomes the first ever for the country at the commonwealth level.
Wini is currently based at the performance-enhancing Oceania Weightlifting Training Institute in New Caledonia.
Upon learning about last Friday’s cash rewards presentation with high anticipation, she had to fly back home to attend the event, skipping some training days in her important build-up toward November’s World Weightlifting Championship in Turkmenistan.
The cash rewards presentation was organised by the Ministry of Home Affairs in collaboration with the National Olympic Committee of Solomon Islands (NOCSI) as the event coincides with the launching of the fundraising drive for Samoa 2019 Pacific Games.
The presentation started and all medal winning athletes were called up to the front to receive their rewards which were placed in all yellow envelopes.
To her dismay, she could not believe what she saw when she opened her envelope.
Instead of the promised cash or a cheque, nothing was found in there except for a letter addressed to them from the Ministry of Home Affairs’ Permanent Secretary Acting John Foteliwale.
In the letter it states, “Congratulation to you from the Ministry of Home Affairs as a Medal Recipient.
“Your cash award will be presented to you in the coming week. You will be notified on the exact day and time in due course.
“The Ministry seek your understanding and cooperation in this regard.
“Once again Congratulations to you on your achievement.”
Wini followed up with the responsible body this week and nothing was given to her until her departure for New Caledonia on Thursday.
Wini said this is not acceptable.
“This is not how they should treat the athletes. We worked so hard all year round to achieve the medals in the name of our country Solomon Islands. Success comes with a lot of hard work.
“The Ministry should wait until funds are available before organising such an event. It’s a national shame.
“I had to skip my training in Noumea to come over to attend the event but ended up receiving nothing. Had they informed me earlier, I should’ve stayed back to concentrate on my training in New Caledonia.
“Such treatment is not good. I’m voicing this out on behalf of myself and my other medal-winning athlete colleagues from last year’s Mini Games,” a disappointed Wini expressed.
SunSPORTS’ attempt to get comments from the PS Acting of the Home Affairs Ministry proved futile as Foteliwale was not in office on Sunday.