The usual pattern of behaviour by our sports officials remained true to form when none of them came forward and publicly congratulated the gold medal achievement of junior middle distance star Jevina Straker,
Straker captured the top accolade in the 1500 metres of the Under-17 category in this year’s Junior Carifta Games in Castries, St. Lucia on Friday.
Up to press time yesterday, not one official either from the Sports Ministry, Athletic Association or the Office of the President had issued a congratulatory message to neither the young star nor her team-mates Janella Jonas and Ricardo Martin, who both earned bronze and silver medals respectively.
It was another typical display by the officials and just shows either their lack of understanding on how to motivate our national athletes or their contempt for them.
The news of these three athletes’ accomplishments were known at least three days ago and even though most sections of the media did not work on Good Friday, the general feeling was that messages applauding their efforts would’ve been forthcoming at the earliest opportunity.
After all the problems faced to procure sponsorship to attend the Games, these young, brave and committed athletes, aided by just their natural talent have once again demonstrated that given the opportunity to showcase it, they can make Guyana proud.
They managed to beat the mighty Jamaicans to achieve those medals and the mere fact that they did that, speaks volumes of their individual abilities.
Instead of being motivated by kind words urging more success, what did they get?
Deafening silence from those that really matter.
It is indeed hard to understand, officials fervent attempts to utilise the media for purposes beneficial to them and not displaying the same zeal to recognise and commend the achievements of our heroes.
This insensitive posture must not continue; officials should exhibit more care and attention for our sportsmen and women and strive to emulate the actions of their Caribbean counterparts, who almost never fail to extend compliments to their national athletes for outstanding performances.
Grenada’s Prime Minister Tillman Thomas immediately dispatched a congratulatory message to the record breaking Kirani James, who smashed Jamaica’s Usain Bolt’s 400 metres record. This is the sort of awareness and love that should be demonstrated by our leaders which could ultimately ignite a burning desire by our athletes to endeavour for more victories.
Many of them (officials) may be tempted after reading this missive to offer lots of excuses or to say that they did so personally, but it must be noted that certain things in life must be done publicly.
When it happens this way, it initiates a different feeling among our citizens, a feeling of comfort, care and a sense of belonging, all important elements for the recipe of success.
This is not the first time that this has occurred, but hopefully this is the last time that it happens.
Let our athletes feel the way they should when they make us proud and not the other way – neglected and overlooked.
Sport is one of the main conduits to this country’s success in every endeavour and the half measures being employed by those in authority will not work if we’re to enjoy economic prosperity.
There is too much hesitancy when it comes to the effective implementation and support for sports with national teams constantly having to complain about the lack of funding for programmes and travel.
The past few weeks presented a clear picture of this, we saw an excess of articles lamenting the shortage of funding for teams and individual athletes to participate in regional competitions even creating much disappointment for some.
Guyana is not exclusive in this regard, this same phenomenon exist in other countries as well, but certainly not on the same scale.
Governments take over and bear the brunt of the costs, not only by way of travel tax exemptions, but more tangible support as happened in the past and if Guyana is to get anywhere near the sporting successes that territories like Trinidad and Tobago, Barbados and Jamaica currently get pleasure from, the existing state of affairs will have to change.
Everywhere in the world, there are situations that demand support from the community, businesses, relatives etc, but the magnitude here is unrivalled.
As was pointed out in previous articles, individual associations should not be absolved from blame.
Part of its responsibility is to come up with measures to procure funds for teams and athletes travel, so some amount of culpability should be apportioned to them as well.
They usually fail to organise fund raisers of meaningful significance and more importantly, they are normally very late in doing so, thus compounding an already disgusting development.
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