On Target
April 8, 2011
It can only get better

The Organising Committee of the 2011 National Lotteries Authority St. Vincent Corrugated Container Inc. Inter-Secondary Schools Athletics Championships held at the Arnos Vale Playing Field on Thursday, March 31, must be lauded for an effort worthy of high commendation.{{more}}

The organizers had promised to stage an event with a difference, and this they did, as things seemed to be well planned and a near-flawless execution followed.

This was an example of proper planning; it is also an indication of what can happen when people go the extra mile to put on a good show.

From the dyed track, the use of the photo finish, the electronic timing, the medal presentation and the security arrangements, among others, the championships went off incident free.

Indeed, the standards were lifted from what occurred in previous years, when the championships were feared by many as one fitting of a battle field among exuberant young men and women.

The organization of the championships also served as an eye opener to budding athletes who endeavour to enter regional and international meets of some of the minimum standards needed to compete at those levels.

And, although there was absence of banter among the schools, as those in attendance remained rather mute, except when an event was in progress, the support for the championships is still present.

Then there was the Thomas Saunders Secondary School factor.

It was evident, even leading up to the championships, that this institution was the one to beat.

Like the organizers, the Thomas Saunders Secondary has set lofty standards of preparations and what are the prerequisites for winning.

No praise is enough for all those who had an input into the successes of that school, to win the male and female divisions of the championships, albeit that the school, came into being just five and a half years ago.

Kudos must first of all go the school’s Principal John Renton for his understanding that sports is a vital part of the holistic development of his students.

Renton has had an hands-on approach on the sporting activities of the school, and his involvement surely added to the school’s success.

His whole hearted efforts in trying to get the school to the prestigious Penn Relays in the USA, later this month is testimony of his commitment.

And, to the parents and guardians of the athletes who also sided with the philosophy of the school.

But the man who drove the athletes to their success was the school’s Physical Education teacher Godfrey Harry.

A hard task master, Harry’s preparations of his athletes were methodical, stretching from the individual Physical Education classes, through to the school’s Track and Field Championships, then on to the national stage.

Harry seems to get the best out of his charges and has the ability to instill that self-belief in them.

Harry, unlike other Physical Education teachers, has a good support staff, including a Japanese volunteer and an assistant through the Youth Empowerment Service.

Laying the ground work for the Thomas Saunders Secondary was Ulrick Wright, who served in that capacity in the initial stage of the school’s short life thus far.

It is my hope that many will emulate the Thomas Saunders Secondary School’s astute approach and set high standards for themselves.

There were some non-traditional schools which had an impact on the championships, notably the Union Island Secondary, and this augurs well for the development in St. Vincent and the Grenadines.

Whilst overall the performances last week Thursday were not outstanding, they were indeed encouraging, and a good gauge of where Track and Field is positioned.

The onus is now on the athletes and their representative body to continue to make such good showing, push the envelope, and force the hands of the policymakers to at least provide athletics with a synthetic track.

The pace has been set for Inter-Secondary Schools Track and Field Championships here, and nothing less will be expected from this time forth, once the necessary support is given from all quarters.

No support, though, for the continued presence of the Mound at the Sion Hill Playing Field.