Pole vault event grounded by funding issues problems | TahoeDailyTribune.com

Pole vault event grounded by funding issues problems

Steve Yingling

Unless there are last-minute donations totaling $20,000, Olympic pole vaulting candidates won’t be making a stop in South Lake Tahoe later this month.

Only the funding was missing from the two-week negotiations that attempted to bring the Pole Vault League to the Community Youth Sports Complex on May 31 and June 1. All but $4,000 of the $20,000 needed funds would be used as prize money for the May 31 exhibition. The remaining money would have gone to coordinating the event for the athletes.

El Dorado County Supervisor Norma Santiago tried to procure funding for the Olympic-caliber event but said the timing and timeline made it difficult.

“The logistics were taken care of. It was a question of sponsorships, and my really good resources didn’t pan out,” Santiago said. “With the state of the economy, people are more reluctant to contribute to these kinds of things. We only found about this at the end of April.”

The exhibitions, which are sanctioned by USA Track and Field, are held to raise more awareness about the sport and help the athletes prepare for he Olympic Track and Field Trials in June in Eugene, Ore. The second day of the event was reserved for a pole vault clinic for local athletes.

Steve Morales, Lake Tahoe Unified School District facilities director, and Judi Harkins, an assistant to Santiago, were also involved in discussions to bring the event to South Lake Tahoe.

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The PVL delayed the deadline until Wednesday so city leaders could try to come up with the necessary funding. The funding will likely need to come in the next day or two in order to coordinate getting the pole vaulters here on time.

“If the community wants to contribute, and if we can come up with the $20,000, that would be fantastic and preferred,” Harkins said.

Santiago says that the PVL and similar events are integral to improving the overall health and well-being of the community.

“We want to get into those circuits, so South Lake Tahoe can become an athletic Mecca. That, in itself, brings a lot more economic benefits to our community,” Santiago said.

In the likelihood that the PVL event is scratched, Santiago said, there may be an effort to try again after the Summer Games or organize it for next year.

To make a donation, phone the El Dorado County Supervisor office at (530) 573-3411.