It was just an illusion
By Rawle Welch
After a somewhat promising start to the year, where it appeared as though some sports administrators were showing vital signs of regaining consciousness and their respective organisations would have discarded their old, apathetic outlook, recent evidence seems to suggest that the early scenario was just an illusion.
Once again athletes are the ones on the receiving end, and this must be a very hurtful development for them, given the personal sacrifices they make to achieve the desired standards to force their way into national teams.
In addition to Government’s continued dismal track record for support of sports it appears as though some administrators feel that the challenge to be inventive in organising fund-raisers is not their responsibility, but rather, all funds required to send a team or a set of athletes should be borne solely by business entities and the Government.
In this climate of economic difficulties that is currently being experienced worldwide – which has forced many major businesses to either downsize or face closure – the mere dependence on such support is both depressing and mendicant.
Over the past two to three months, quite a few teams and/or athletes were forced to shelve the thought of competing at several events within and outside the Caribbean due to the scarcity of funding.
The situation has also reached a point where not even the best athletes are selected, because of the lack of ability to solicit sponsorship, and this may explain why Guyana continues to perform so dismally in many disciplines.
As I’ve stated in previous articles, Government should always lead in the development of sports, but to simply down arms and solely depend on its munificence shows a lack of concern by officials for their constituents, which could be interpreted as selfishness or a glaring inability to plan fund-raising activities.
So far this year, the national female rugby squad could not attend the regional championships in Barbados, the motor racers could not participate in Jamaica, a couple of athletic teams could not leave these shores and the list goes on and on, with the usual defence being the lack of funds.
No one is oblivious to the economic hardships currently being faced, but once again I must reiterate the fact that many of these events were planned long in advance, at least giving the relevant organisations sufficient time to come close to the intended target or even realise it.
We hardly hear about fund-raising activities designed by many of these entities, so it might be safe to conclude that very often none is considered.
It is disgusting to read time and again about a team or a set of athletes struggling to get sponsorship or being unable to go to a tournament or Games with the same old reason being submitted every time.
It has even reached the stage where administrators are not even commenting on some of the events that are scheduled to be staged within the region for fear of being exposed.
Conversely, all these officials never fail to miss the opportunity to attend all the major events globally and many times it is for personal benefits, since very few disciplines in this country are showing signs of advancement from their attendance.
Apart from squash which I must distinguish as one of the best run sports organisations, with ample evidence to back up this observation, Guyana’s performance regionally and internationally has declined dramatically, and many examples could support this view.
From being a regional powerhouse in cricket, Guyana’s recent record resembles that of the beleaguered West Indies team, while from being top contenders in basketball, boxing and junior rugby, just to name a few, we have faltered so badly that we’re now at the bottom of the ladder in almost every sport.