Garrett Owens who was to represent Ireland in the 2012 Mind Sport Olympics has decided to withdraw from the competition as he is unable to secure funding from the Irish Draughts Association
“I have been in training for this event for the past six months and was very much looking forward to entering and hopefully bringing a gold medal home for Ireland,” said Garrett.
“However, I have just recently had to withdraw my participation in the event due to lack of funding. With the exception of Ireland - every country represented in the Mind Sports Olympics is providing its participants with some kind of state sponsorship.
“I have, in fact, been offered private sponsorship by a Dundalk businessperson to attend the Mind Olympics in August, but feel that as the Olympics - both the main Olympics and the Mind Olympics - are about representing one’s country and one’s affiliated sports bodies that it would be completely disingenuous of me to say I am representing a country and a body that is not prepared to fund me as the other participting sportspeople are funded.”
Garrett added: “The Irish Draughts Association does have a trust fund for its leading players such as myself to attend tournaments but in this instance, it is for some unfathomable reason not prepared to fund Olympic participation.
“And as I am the only candidate from the Republic of Ireland I consider this quite a ridiculous stance to take, and if the Association really does want to bring medals home for Ireland it should very much be prepared to fund me and to have gone through all the necessary channels to have secured me funding.
“Therefore, I consider my only option to be withdrawal from participation in the Mind Olympics – and also to resign as Captain. It’s been a difficult decision but I am hoping that this action will actively encourage the Irish Draughts Association to ensure it has some kind of funds, however small, to contribute to the funding of future Olympic candidates.”
According to Garrett, a delegation from the Irish Draughts Association is planning to travel to Dundalk next week to meet with him and discuss his decision.