On Target
October 15, 2010
Celebrating our achievements

Natasha Mayers’ gold at the Commonwealth Games in the 100 metres seems not to have warranted us ‘bigging up our chests’.

Feeling the vibes generated by Mayers’ eventual first place, her victory seems to have been given an indifferent, to the point of muted, recognition.{{more}}

The circumstances in which she gained it were through disqualification of the first and second places. The first, through a false start, and the other, for a positive drug test.

The latter situation Mayers is able to understand, as she, too, was banned for two years by the IAAF in 2005 for having more than the legally allowed level of testosterone in her system.

So her eventual gold medal may be ironic, as she at one point walked that same path of using an unfair advantage over her fellow athletes.

But whatever the circumstances, Mayers’ gold is worth more than its value, as surely she has turned from villain to national celebrity status, albeit draped in controversy.

St. Vincent and the Grenadines certainly got its share of the world spotlight, although tempered and limited, but that is the way the human psyche operates, and one needs to appreciate that.

Five years ago, through her transgression, we got that same focus.

There are those who find it offensive to refer to someone who cheats in sports, is caught and sentenced, as “disgraced”. But anyone who cheats and brings his or herself and country into disrepute surely has fallen from grace.

We have to learn to take both the bitter and the sweet.

Despite all the side shows and cold shoulders, her victory is for all Vincentians to savour, as it is a rarity that a Vincentian wins a gold medal at a major sporting event.

Mayers’ feat was so important that the Midweek issue of the SEARCHLIGHT, dated Tuesday, October 12, featured her on its front page. Something that I have always dared newspaper editors to do.

This must serve as a reminder of the importance of sports and its advertising power to any nation, by the mere act of a national mounting a podium.

We should also use Mayers’ eventual success as an example not to wallow in our transgressions, but seek redemption in the places where it can be rightly found.

Hers is also a shot in the arm for Athletics here in St. Vincent and the Grenadines, which over the past years, has been back peddling.

It was the first pure St. Vincent and the Grenadines Athletics medal at the Commonwealth Games.

Yes, there were others, as in the case of Frankie Lucas, a resident of England, who chose to represent St. Vincent and the Grenadines in 1974 in New Zealand, and landed a Boxing gold, fighting in the Middleweight Division.

Before him, though, George Manners in 1970 won a bronze medal in Weightlifting also in the Middleweight Division, then called the British Commonwealth Games.

Whilst all three Vincentian medalists at the Commonwealth Games are not truly home grown, the fact is that they represented St. Vincent and the Grenadines, and that is what matters most.

But while Mayers was representing us in India, our senior national male Football team was participating in Group B, here in the Digicel Caribbean Cup.

The young, energetic, inexperienced, and sometimes impetuous bunch of footballers advanced to the next phase of the competition.

Their achievement must be lauded, more so for their self belief and cockiness, which at times bordered on arrogance. They held Barbados to a draw, more aptly put, Barbados held them to a draw, a feat that was not achieved by more solid and accomplished Vincentian Football outfits in recent times.

This youthful team must also be commended, as this country failed in 2008 to come out of their group, and to play undefeated this time around is worthy of an applaud.

However, these players are in need of proper guidance and counseling, as their raw abilities alone will not see them through the next phase.

No recognition is in place for the continued presence of the Mound at the Sion Hill Playing Field.

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