Paralympic athlete pleads for help
Devastated at missing out on a chance to represent Jamaica in the World Para-Taekwondo Championship in London because of a lack of funding, Shauna-Kay Hines, 28, is now seeking the public's help to ensure that she and other persons who hope to represent the country in the sport can finance their endeavours.
The championships start today and Hines was supposed to be there at least two or three days before to overcome jet lag.
"I would be ready to fight and I am not there and that is when it hit me," said Hines, who was scheduled to leave the island on Sunday.
Making the transition
Having earned two medals Para-Taekwondo competitions, including a silver medal at the US Open in February, only a few weeks after making the transition from competing in athletics, Hines said she had to miss out on tournaments that would have helped her gain points to competing in the 2020 Paralympics.
She said the Jamaica Paralympic Association would usually cover the cost of making the trip to compete through asking persons for assistance, however they have been unsuccessful in raising the money.
With a hectic training schedule, Hines lamented the fact that even getting to training was a challenge for her.
"After a time I couldn't afford funding myself from my pocket for travelling because travelling alone cost $18,500 a month. It's expensive and I reached out to the organisation and they had provided funding for me to travel two times so I was grateful for that," she said.
However, despite the struggles she faced she still was working hard and hoping to go to London.
"I was travelling ... going to training and expecting to go to the World Championships, which is a big thing and I felt defeated and I said that I had to do something," she said.
Hines has another tournament in December in Portugal which will help her to gain points to qualify for the Olympics, and notes other paralympic athletes struggle to finance their training.
She is urging persons who can assist to make donations to a GoFundMe account that she has set up.
"It is not only me that need the help because there are other athletes that need the help. They need help, they need a lot of help," she said. "They are training hard and sometimes they don't even have bus fare. They may not talk because when they talk nothing don't come out of it."
Persons who wish to assist may make donations to The University of The West Indies' National Commercial Bank branch A/C: 401022422 or email firstname.lastname@example.org for enquiries.