Sports managers must be told that big brother is watching them
The recent crusade by journalists of Kaieteur News that demands overt and constructive responses from our sports executives seem to have sparked the appropriate response from Director of Youth and Sports (DY&S), Neil Kumar who has decided to read out the riot act to sports executives of the various disciplines.
The issue is extremely deep seated and it is evident that intensive scrutiny by journalists of this publication supported by cries of the public regarding Guyana’s mediocre showing at the just concluded London Olympics must have had some effect on the DY&S, who after some amount of soul searching has recoiled and later rebounded with a well timed counterattack. It must be noted that earlier Mr. Kumar had directed his barbs at the officials of the Guyana Olympics Association (GOA), blaming them in part for Guyana’s dismal showing at the world’s premier event. GOA boss, Juman Yassin, had retaliated and had refuted Kumar’s claims, citing the absence of support and even going to great depths to point out unsuccessful efforts by the GOA to form a partnership with the government.
It now seems as though amidst the exchanges Mr. Kumar was holding consultations among key stakeholders of the relevant sports organizations to map out a strategy for the 2016 Brazil Olympics. We were informed that, “The primary objective of the forum is to direct attention and endeavors towards the achievements of, not only commendable, but spectacular performances at the impending Olympics ………”
WOW! Has the DY&S actually awoken from his lethargy or is this initiative another of the many talk shops to ward off the probing and caustic queries of the media?
Journalists are integral stakeholders in sports matters and while they should not be regarded as policy makers, it is axiomatic that their views and opinions may form the basis of the formation of requisite policies towards the general rehabilitation of the sports sector. Recently though, some officials within the sports administrative sector seems to have regarded such intervention in derogatory ways which has seen a rift in relations and the prevailing environment is tepid with each group demonstrating acute suspicion of the other.
Mr. Kumar has read out the riot act; he has summoned several heads of sports organizations to ventilate the issue but even as one examines the area of Kumar’s concerns, questions are bound to arise. Mr. Kumar has sweepingly dealt with the issue but while the projections seem grandiose and impressive, one cannot help but regard the initiatives as endorsement of non-consultations in the first place which, in the end will uncover the wasteful attitudes engendered by a reluctance to consult in the very first place.
How does one re-design the Andrew Lewis Gym for better comfort? The truth is that the entire design is not conducive to boxing activities and one may very well have to destroy great portions of the building to achieve the desired objective. Naturally, this entails spending additional funds which could have been averted had such consultations taken precedence over unilateral pigheadedness.
On the issue of making equipment and infrastructure available, Come on Sir, we are hearing the many cries emanating from our sports administrators of the (too) rigid prerequisites of utilizing the various venues. Whose responsibility is it to fix this problem?
The document underlining the necessary reforms for the sports sector is very broad based and would take more than one article to adequately ventilate. This will be done over the coming weeks. Journalists will also adhere to their ‘watchdog’ mandate and stay closely with the development of these issues. We are no longer in the mood to support empty rhetoric.
This is the 21st century when athletes the world over are performing phenomenal feats that leaves their audiences gaping. The Ben Johnson 9.79secs feat of September 24, 1988 over Carl Lewis in the 100m final at the Olympics had obliterated the latter athlete’s record but was reverted after drug accusations by Lewis were subsequently proven.
Jamaican sprint maestro, Usain Bolt, has since obliterated that Olympic record with relative ease, replacing it with a phenomenal 9.63secs blur. Lewis’ directed his attention to the Jamaican superstar, suggesting that he has cheated but the issue was simply classified as ‘a storm in a teacup.’
While these great athletes are re-writing the history books, local athletes are experiencing immense difficulties removing, or even emulating the feats of Caribbean nationals at the Carifta games and other such meets. Our lofty ambitions are then extended to prestigious, world class and high profiled games and then we have the temerity to expect lucrative medals. The just concluded London Olympics was a carbon copy of preceding ones and upon its conclusion, instead of a thorough forensic examination succeeded by realistic projections for the Brazil Olympics, local sports officials resorted to vitriolic rhetoric while bushwhacking tactics seemed to be the order of the day.
There is that generalized view among sports administrators that subscribe to the belief that disgruntled citizens will vent their disgust and/or disappointment amidst a plethora of rhetoric and regardless of the outcome of the contentious issues, shortly afterwards, all is quiet. As such those on the receiving end of such vitriol believe that they will only have to ride the tide for a short period until the issue is quelled and then its business as usual.
The time has arrived when sports officials should shape up or ship out. It would be interesting to hear of the decisions coming out of the forum organized by Mr. Kumar. It will be just as interesting to observe the implementation of those initiatives/decisions. Whichever way it goes, rest assured that Kaieteur Sports will continue to monitor the issue on behalf of the public as well as athletes and other relevant stakeholders. The time for empty rhetoric has long past. Government officials who say they are doing something must subsequently go ahead and do it. It is the media’s job to ensure that these officials account for use the taxpayers’ funds. We are forced to borrow the famous words of a senior Minister when he said, “Big brother is watching.”