On Target
August 17, 2012
Peeping into our own bowls now

Vincentians were all glued to their television sets for the past two weeks, immersed in the happenings of the 2012 London Olympics.

From the extravagant, but fascinating and well organized opening ceremony on July 27, to the sizzling performance last Saturday, we were all wedged in our seats.{{more}}

Many of us shared in the successes of the Caribbean athletes, namely the legendary Jamaican Usain Bolt, who repeated gold in both the 100m and 200m.

Also the Jamaican quartet of Bolt, Yohan Blake, Nesta Carter and Michael Frater, who won gold in the men’s 4 x 100m relay in the process smashing the world record.

Also bringing cheers and smiles to persons in these parts was Shelly Ann Fraser-Pryce who retained her first place in the women’s 100m.

Nineteen-year-old Trinidadian Keshorn Walcott shocked the world by taking gold in the men’s javelin.

Closer to us, neighbour Grenada’s Kirani James ignited our hopes with his efforts in capturing the first medal, a gold one too, for the OECS, when he took the 400m.

But as we revelled in the successes of others, Vincentians had little to cheer about.

So, for how much longer are we prepared to be mere spectators to the events, just to be part of the opening ceremony, preliminary round of competition, take in the sights and sounds of the occasion and say bon voyage until four years hence?

Are we contented with this cheer leaders’ status?

Are we going to make a conscious effort to at least provide the platform through a structured approach to at least begin to win medals at the Junior Carifta Games?

Do we have the political will to embark on a sojourn of sporting excellence, at the expense of other sectors?

Mind you, whilst we gloat of the achievements of the Jamaicans, the successes of the likes of Bolt have come at the sacrifice of others, who have to go without some other social programmes, whilst he and others bring fame and fortune to their island.

Although we never expected to medal, St Vincent and the Grenadines’ participation in the 30th Olympiad has left some questions to be answered.

Except for a media release, there was little coming out from the officials in London about the team of two track and field athletes in Alexander and Williams and swimmer Tolga Akcayli.

No one has since been told of the extent of Alexander’s injury, as she pulled up in the 400 m women’s heat.

But the major concern is the affinity of the St Vincent and the Grenadines team with St Kitts.

It is common knowledge that Kittian Eric Francis was the coach and physiotherapist for both Alexander and Williams.

But more importantly, Alexander and Williams are part of Francis’ Elite Performance Track Club, which is based in Texas, USA.

Therefore, here lies the greater interest, as everyone is aware that a member of the St Kitts and Nevis team, Tameka Williams, was sent back from the Olympic Games for admitting to have taken a drug which was not approved.

It has been alleged that the drug which was taken is one which goes by the name “Blast Off Red.” This drug is an injectable vitamin and amino acid supplement, prescribed for horses, camels, alpacas, racing pigeons and dogs. According to the manufacturers, it is said to increase the animal’s stamina and aggression.

Tameka Williams is also a member of the Elite Performance Track Club.

So, will our National Olympic Committee or local athletics body launch an investigation, since our two athletes trained at the same place as Tameka? Also, was Tameka the only athlete who it is alleged was given the product?

If done, will the relevant authorities reveal their findings?

Will both entities in the interim be good communicators and assure the local public that they too are against drug use in sports?

Will the public be given a synopsis of the team’s performance at the Games and the way forward for future attendance in events of this nature?

Will the Vincentian public be informed of how much money was invested in training both St Vincent and the Grenadines athletes in Texas?

Why was Francis chosen by the St Vincent and the Grenadines officials, when his own country did not select him?

These are just some pertinent questions which should be answered by those concerned.