ST VINCENT AND the Grenadines’ participation in the XXI Commonwealth Games which concluded on the Gold Coast, Queensland, Australia, last Sunday, can be deemed an encouraging one.
It is relative to say that the performance in general was good, but one can safely describe it as an improvement on previous outings.
The list shows that Jumonne Exeter reached the final of the men’s triple jump; long-standing national female athlete Kineke Alexander got to the semi-final of the 400m, so too did Kimorie Exeter in the men’s version, and swimmer Dillon Gooding in the men’s 50m backstroke.
Similarly, Reyan Cupid’s overall seventh place in the women’s 75kg weightlifting, whilst squash player Othneil Bailey and Jason Doyle, got as far as the classic place and plate semis, respectively.
Additionally, Akani Slater did his personal best in the men’s 800m.
The results would show that table tennis had proven to be the discipline in which St Vincent and the Grenadines seemed to be punching above its weight class and to some extent, cycling and swimming.
In short, the athletes merely participated in those disicplines, rather that competed.
The latter though can be reasoned, because of the young and inexperienced
quartet, all below the age of 20, that represented this country.
Not to sound like recent West Indies cricket captains, who after suffering crushing defeats, take refuge behind the recitation of “taking away the positives”, but the Vincentian contingent can be permitted to do the same on this occasion.
This being the case, the statistical results are stacked against us, as comparatively, with the four Windward Islands, St Vincent and the Grenadines is the only one not to come away with medals.
St Lucia got one gold; Dominica earned one silver and one bronze, while Grenada pouched a gold and a bronze.
Instructive it is that all three islands’ medals were attained in the field events from the track and field discipline.
Analyses from the entries at the XXI Commonwealth Games, are that the field events were not as demanding as the sprints.
Therefore, with the Commonwealth Games being a multi-discipline one, St Vincent and the Grenadines has to begin to seriously weigh up its circumstances and make decisions relevant to optimize our chances at such outings.
This though is if we are satisfied with the average returns, semi-finals, finals and personal bests.
If however, we are not in that bracket, then the various national sporting associations should, from here on in, carefully analyse their talent stock before entering games of this nature.
Medals are not to only pluses that St Vincent and the Grenadines should be trying to gain from the Commonwealth Games and the likes, but we should not always be present just to answer the attendance register.
In short, we should be there to compete.
To do so, things have to change with the way we view sports and attending such international games.
Our mindset has to change… the way we do things and see sports.
Preparations can no longer be a few months affair, prior to these games, that some intensities are made to get the athletes (used here in general) ready for such major outings.
We also have to ask ourselves, if there is sufficient talent here at home to make proper representation at the international level.
Are we going to follow suit like others, and push the eligibility parameters to its limits, thus seeking out anyone who qualifies to avail themselves for national representation?
The recent encouraging returns from the Carifta Games and swimming championships, also the little bright sparks of the 2018 Commonwealth Games, should act as catalysts for future endeavours.
Hence a change in the mind set of all shareholders of sports here in St Vincent and the Grenadines, is what is most important to ensure continued success and ultimately, to medal at international events.