Aug 04, 2010 Sports
– huge financial backing is the only recipe
By Rawle Welch
As I sat at my desk at office yesterday reading two articles from the Trinidad Guardian and the Barbados Nation respectively, I felt a deep sense of vindication about the many articles we in the media write about the lack of support for sports in this country.
We are often ridiculed and criticised for stating our views on where we are going as it relates to the development of sport here and very often we are correct in our observations.
Our Caribbean neighbour Trinidad and Tobago reaped the rewards of investing millions of dollars in sport by capturing a record breaking 33 medals at the recently staged CAC Games, nine of which were gold, a staggering improvement from their previous best which was seven gold medals way back in 1966.
Immediately it demonstrated that the administrators of Sport in TT had a clear vision with a strategic plan to develop sport across the country and this year’s CAC success is the culmination of such foresight and commitment.
Though more economically powerful that any other Caribbean territory presently, the powers that be in the twin-island Republic could have easily balked at any suggestion to plug huge sums into the development of sport, but they knew that the social, economic and cultural benefits in addition to human empowerment could not be derived through any other medium, hence they made the bold decision to dole out huge sums of money to acquire top-class facilities, the best coaches and to expose their athletes to the best competition all over the world and the rest is history.
It is the same with many other countries in the region, Jamaica being a prime example of what is required to get to the top.
These countries consciously decided that lip service and unfulfilled promises was not going to get them to the top as is the case here, but rather a comprehensive policy supported by enormous funding was the only pathway to getting their athletes up to international standard.
They’ve done so with many prime examples to chose from including Jamaica’s Usain Bolt, the Reggae Boyz, Shelly Ann Fraser, Asafa Powell, Veronica Campbell, TT’s hockey teams, the Soca Warriors, the T20 cricket team that made it to the final of the Champions League tournament last year and many of their athletes who’re now campaigning on the international circuit with some success.
Over to the Nation where President of the Barbados Olympic Association (BOA) Steve Stoute while expressing his disappointment about his country’s performance at the CAC Games was clear in his mind that more needed to be spent to bring them up to par with countries like TT and Jamaica.
Stoute said just when Barbados thought they were catching up, countries like Colombia, Venezuela and Trinidad and Tobago were now spending millions of dollars investing in sport.
“In essence, if we are to progress, we need to spend more money in preparation. It is all very well to spend large sums in mobilising a team and bringing them to a Games, but preparation is key.”
He noted that Trinidad had their women’s hockey team in Europe and they won a gold medal and the men’s team, which were in Brazil, won silver. Barbados went to Canada, and both teams won bronze.
This bit of information I received from the Coach of the Guyana Ladies team Philip Fernandes even before they left these shores to attend the Games.
Fernandes had revealed that in addition to the absence of an artificial turf, local teams have always been disadvantaged due to the lack of international exposure, but were still expected to go out there and beat teams who’ve benefited from such.
I’ve had the privilege to travel with a few Guyana teams in the past and I’ve always advised my fellow colleagues in the media not to be too critical of our results unless they had the opportunity to witness first hand and make a genuine assessment.
Over the past few weeks Guyana have had some good results and bad ones as well in international competitions, but still there is a deafening silence from all quarters on what needs to be done to garner the kind of results that our Caribbean neighbours are currently enjoying.
Our rugby teams have done exceedingly well and so too our Squash players and cricketers and one could only hope that discussions on implementing systems to sustain such performances in the future are taking centre stage.
As Stoute commented, it makes no sense spending time to accrue funds for teams to travel when adequate and top-class preparations are missing.
We need to do a better job, it is still my fervent view that we have the most naturally talented athletes, but that could only take you so far in the world of sports today.
East Bank cricket will go nowhere unless there are urgent changes
The East Bank Cricket Association (EBCA) will be holding its Annual General Meeting on Wednesday 4 August, 2010. High on the agenda is the Election of Office Bearers.
This Association was prevented, through a court injunction, from functioning for three (3) years. During this time, an interim committee was appointed by the court to oversee cricket on the East Bank of Demerara but very little cricket was played.
Early in 2009 the injunction was discharged and a Special Meeting was held at the end of which an Executive Committee headed by Rohan Sarjoo was installed though many legitimate Clubs on the East Bank were not aware of the meeting and therefore did not participate. One year after that Committee took office, no official cricket has been played and many of the clubs are extremely disappointed with the performance of the Committee.
Additionally, statutory monthly meetings are not held as required by the EBCA constitution and some Executive Members have resigned in disgust. The President of EBCA has been very abusive in dealing with his Committee and the cricketers including very young ones some of whom have written a complaint in relation to him chasing them off the field.
There was a vain attempt to have a Training Seminar on Monday 2 August, 2010 to garner support for Sarjoo at the Elections. This Seminar however was not successful as both resource persons who were named and expected participants were not aware of the Seminar.
Rohan Sarjoo is now seeking to be re-elected as President after a dismal performance over the past year. Concerned cricket enthusiasts on the East Bank are hoping for a change in order to bring back some quality to the Executive Committee and also to have the sort of commitment and vision that can carry East Bank cricket forward. The Elections must be properly held and it is hoped that observers attend to ensure transparency and fair play.
East Bank Cricket has suffered severely over the past few years and with the amount of eager and talented youngsters around, East Bank could once again be a cricketing force if only there is a change.
R. J. Ramnauth
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