Parasnath calls for higher pay for sports journalists, athletes

Sporting stalwart Brij Parasnath giving his address at the Umana Yana (Romario Samaroo photo)

Sports analyst and coach, Brij Parasnath says that the media is a key component in the development of sports and as such journalists should be paid more and there should be  funding for athletes.

Parasnath, himself a journalist, was giving the feature address at the  celebration of the 70th anniversary of the Athletics Association of Guyana (AAG) in the presence of Aubrey Hutson, President of the AAG and President of the South American Consudatle (confederation of athletics), Roberto Gesta De Melo at the Umana Yana, Kingston on Saturday evening.

Parasnath, who began coaching back in 1969, said that sports reporters are the lowest paid of the media  in the Caribbean but are some of the hardest workers in the region.

“The media guys are the lowest paid workers in the Caribbean we don’t make the money but we do the job from 10 o’clock in the morning to two in the morning we going home so we need some better pay as well”, Parasnath said during his near two-hour address.

Even with their hectic schedules, the sport enthusiast related that it would be impossible for journalists to cover all the events but they try their best to get as much coverage and highlight  the athletes. Thus, he urged the sports bodies to help in what way they can to disseminate information as the top organisations do.

“In this current time you got to email it or whatsapp it quickly, they can’t go to all the grounds, you got to help them. The big organisations around the world do that so you get to highlight the athletes”, he said.

The historical reference to the Association’s first coming of age began with it being named the Amateur Athletics Association. Now the body is no longer amateur. Therefore, Parasnath questioned why call it professional when the athletes are not being paid?

“The association started out as amateur athletics but the amateur has been dropped meaning it is professional now but the athletes are not paid to run”, the former teacher of the AAG President said.

He drew the parallel between Guyana and Trinidad and Tobago where he urged the Association to “pay them because they are dedicating their lives to athletics.” He also compared the sport to cricket where he commented “if the cricketers can get USD 2000 to play a T20 match in three hours, then you could give them even 200 or 100 USD and you will see how much champions we produce.” He explained that “Now Trinidad has an elite system, the elite performance programme, which gives them quarter of a million dollars a year so by the time of the Olympics they have one million dollars towards preparation but you have to be in the top 40 in the world so you have to work to get that elite funding and have incentives like $246 million in this current budget for those who win international medals.”

Parasnath was one of the first five Regional Sports Organisers for the Ministry of Culture, Youth and Sports.

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