Jan 14, 2015 Sports
By Rawle Welch
Sometime in early September, 2012, shortly after the Guyana contingent that participated in the London Olympics returned home empty-handed,
Director of Sport Neil Kumar, acting on behalf of the Government, rolled out a structured plan which according to him could result in Guyana medalling at next year’s 2016 Olympics in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.
Kumar, who has been in charge of the National Sports Commission (NSC) since 1994 unveiled a plan dubbed ‘From now to Brazil’, stating that the primary purpose of the programme was, “to direct attention and endeavours towards the achievement of not merely commendable, but spectacular performances at the Rio 2016 Olympics.”
He went on to say that, “dismal performances must be relegated from our history”. The Director additionally informed that full discussions were held with various associations aimed at having them submit plans and programmes, perhaps for perusal and support from the Ministry of Sport (MoS) and the NSC.
Two years later, no word on whether those associations who were called upon to submit their plans and programmes had adhered to the Director’s request and if they did, what percentage of the initiative has been achieved.
The announcement of this grand proposal was offered to the media in 2012 just over two years later no athlete of quality could be identified as
benefitting from such an initiative, despite the Director’s boast of unmitigated support.
What is even more striking is the continued silence on the issue from the relevant Minister, whose performance in the said portfolio must now come into question for his lack of zest towards the advancement of Sport.
Here is a Minister of Sport, who divergent to his opposite numbers in the Region, had not expressed anything in relation to Guyana’s showing at the Olympics either in his personal or the Ministry’s capacities.
His choice to remain quiet did lead to the evolution of many theories and as time slips by and his posture remains the same, the possibility of those speculations being interpreted as realities is not incredible.
It is incumbent on the Minister to make public the immediate plans of the Ministry and by extension the Government since both plays an integral role in the development of Sport.
As the Principal Officer, acting on behalf of the Government, hearing from him about the Government and MoS plans are critical for instigating confidence in our athletes as well as allowing the nation to understand the positioning of Sport within the national framework.
This country first participated in the Olympics in 1948 as British Guiana, before doing so as Guyana in 1968, and has won one medal to date, a bronze by Michael Parris in boxing at the 1980 Moscow Olympics, but even this discipline has not been accorded the level of support required for any of our fighters to duplicate of even better Parris’ accomplishment.
Many of our Caribbean counterparts started out at the Olympics around the same time we did and have all earned a lot of medals since, but we remain stuck in mediocrity and the only plausible reason is the lack of will by the country’s administrators to see the need to inject substantial funding towards the development of Sport.
There is simply no shortcut to glory it can only be gained by a significant injection of money for the procurement of international standard facilities, the all-round development of our athletes and the acquisition of professional coaches.
The question therefore is what percentage of the Rio initiative has been achieved?
AUBREY NORTON FRIGHTEN RENEGOTIATION AND RING-FENCING
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