Latest update March 20th, 2023 12:59 AM
Mar 09, 2023 Sports
Kaieteur News – Elections, especially those of a national nature, provide an avenue to consolidate power often based on empirical evidence of a developmental agenda, or serve as a catalyst for change owing to a dearth of visionary latitude and policy.
The Guyana Olympic Association (GOA) electoral forum, which is finally pencilled for March 14 at the entity’s Lilliendaal headquarters after months of delay, provides that aforesaid electoral contrast.
While the compelled exit, based on the recently adopted statute on age limit (70), of Chief Magistrate Kalam Juman-Yassin, 75, from office following an uninspired occupancy that was birthed in 1996, seized initial headlines, the tussle for the helm between Guyana Baseball League (GBL) President, Robin Singh, and Guyana Table Tennis Association (GTTA) Chief, Godfrey Munroe, has captured national audiences.
Though not a fan of the fistic endeavour of boxing or the emerging alternative of Mixed Martial Arts, the specific vernacular, ‘the tale of the tape’, seems rather applicable as a basis for analysis of the proverbial combatants.
Although much is acknowledged, and has been pronounced and written on the exploits of Munroe, who is presently a Vice-President of the GOA, the baseball principal remains a comparatively unfamiliar element within the sporting landscape, and expressly amongst casual readers.
In the pursuit of clarity, Singh is credited with an extensive background in sports administration specifically in the realms of cricket, tennis, and baseball.
However, perspective is pivotal! While one is unsure of Singh’s possible contribution to the evolution of the respective cricket and tennis fraternity, it is his input or lack thereof in the development of baseball that comes under the figurative microscope.
Let’s not try to explain away or even justify the elephant in the room. Does baseball even exist on local shores? Is the GBL a functioning entity? When was the last time the association conducted elections and presented audited financial statements?
Continuing in the same vein, where is the sport’s developmental manifesto to chart its local introduction and eventual evolution? Were local competitions ever conducted, and if so, when and where was the previous event? By the same token, has Guyana ever been represented on the international stage by way of participation in a regional tournament or game?
The aforementioned are humble enquiries and salient questions that should be asked of an esteemed presidential hopeful, who wants to command the direction of Guyana’s Olympic aspirations and ambitions. It must be stressed here that our criticism of qualification is in no way synonymous with criticism of character.
So let’s not be averse to facts or venerate and glorify mediocrity.
There are many questions, and no answers, but expectedly few excuses will certainly emanate to justify the paucity of the sport’s reality on local shores.
How can one be expected to develop the majority of the sporting fraternity, the Olympic sporting caucus to be exact, when a track record of development for an Olympic sport of which he is the leader, is essentially non-existent?
It raises the inquiry, given the absence of a recent developmental track record, as to how can any association nominate such an individual to be the helm of arguably the most important local sporting entity?
Is this a recurrence or a second coming of an era that is expected to conclude? Is this a return to a previously experienced state of normalcy? I guess old habits die hard. After all, it would do the GOA no good to have the captain of its ship suffer from any form of the ‘snout at the trough’ syndrome, or equally detrimental, treat the association as one’s personal fiefdom.
Interestingly, baseball which unofficially debuted at the 1904 Summer Olympics in St. Louis, USA, and was contested at the 1912 edition in Stockholm, Sweden as a demonstration discipline, only became an official sport in the 1992 iteration in Barcelona, Spain.
The sport was eventually dropped from the Olympic Programme following the 2008 games in Beijing, China, though a revival occurred at the 2020 iteration in Tokyo, Japan. However, the revival was short-lived, as it has been discarded once again for the 2024 Olympics in Paris, France. It is expected to make a return in the 2028 edition owing to the games being staged in Los Angeles, USA.
Comparatively, table tennis debuted at the 1988 Summer Olympics in Seoul, South Korea, and has never looked back, easily eclipsing the status of America’s favourite pastime on the summer games programme.
Ironically, baseball’s eventual absence from the Olympic charter for several cycles seemed to coincide, rather ‘unfortunately’ or ‘prophetically’ with the GBL’s disappearance from the sporting fraternity for nearly a decade.
Joseph Joubert, the famed French essayist once said, “The aim of an argument or of discussion should not be victory but progress.” That is the central point of this missive.
This is not to say that Munroe is without criticism. Several former players and administrators have voiced their respective disapproval of his leadership of the GTTA at different junctures, which is a fundamental right afforded to contrasting views and is a reality and an occupational hazard for anyone occupying public office.
However, Munroe’s body of work is evidence of his sporting contribution; a record that can be examined and scrutinised, and that should serve as the primary and principal basis of his possible succession or eventual failure.
No such record exists for baseball’s chief administrator. Is the Olympic conclave simply expected to elect based on a promise or whisper and not on evidence and outcomes?
Is this a process to substitute one failed administrator with another? Certainly, we have seen this episode before. Yassin’s impending departure, which was public knowledge for months, has seen ‘notable’ administrators coming out of the woodwork. Let’s not be long on brawn and short on brain!
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