On Target
July 15, 2016
Young athletes get another disappointment

Disappointment is often said to be for the better, but this is not always the case, especially when it occurs with some frequency.

So, when once more, young Vincentian athletes have been denied an opportunity to show off their talents at the Biennial Caribbean Union of Teachers (CUT) Track and Field Championships, it is not any more a short-coming, but something habitual.{{more}}

This type of operation has become the norm, as there is always that uncertainty whenever the games are held every other year.

How can the executive of the St Vincent and the Grenadines Teachers Union (SVGTU), however, continue to deflate the hopes of the young students, whom they say they love and care for?

It is not only the student-athletes themselves who are left aggrieved with the turn of events, but many parents and relatives would have already put plans in place to have their children venture out and pit their skills against others in the region. Additionally, coaches would have expended time and energies in preparing and trimming their squad for the possible outing.

Criticisms will always be levelled at those who hold positions in the executive, and rightly so, as certainly, had it been a case of them attending a conference, most, if not all, would have found their way to the Caribbean destination. One would guess with a certain degree of accuracy that there would not have been a case of a lack of funds.

Everyone knows today about the cost of airfares, but better planning and fervour would have resulted in a better turn of events, rather than St Vincent and the Grenadines’ non–participation.

Couldn’t the SVGTU at least send a reduced squad of the best athletes who were prospective medallists rather than send no one at all? Where is the resourcefulness within the hierarchy of the SVGTU? This type of poor planning does not speak well for a grouping who should provide the proper guidance in forward thinking. Surely, had the teachers’ authorities been serious about the games, then a team would have been selected earlier and the schools would have assisted in raising the funds for the respective athletes.

In Tortola, there is a large Vincentian population who we know are always ready to help their fellow Vincentians and show hospitality once the right connections are made.

But their preferences lie in other areas and not the student-athletes.

Also, after an improved performance in Trinidad and Tobago in 2014, the hype and excitement which followed inclusive of recognition of the contingent, one would have thought that the glossy promises made then would have been followed and made reality.

In fact, sentiments were expressed then at a celebration event at Frenches House in Kingstown on August 29, 2014, that the team would be better prepared for 2016.

The executive of the SVGTU should also remember that St Vincent and the Grenadines finished behind Jamaica, Trinidad and Tobago and Barbados in that order.

They should recall as well that St Vincent and the Grenadines pouched eight medals, which included two gold, one silver and five bronze; the best showing ever since attending the games.

Among the medal haul was a record setting performance by Jamillea Glasgow, who flung a distance of 49.63 metres – a new mark in the girl’s Under-11 cricket ball throw.

Were these enough for more commitment and sense of purpose given to the young athletes, some who were part of the 2014 team and who were still eligible for the Tortola outing?

The Track and Field Championships put on by the CUT have a rich history as a breeding ground for athletes, many of them who have moved on to stardom.

The likes of Obadele Thompson of Barbados, Najuma Fletcher of Guyana, Ayanna Hutchinson, Darrel Brown and Marc Burns of Trinidad and Tobago, and our own Sancho Lyttle have emerged from the biennial CUT games.

So, while we here murmur, point fingers and make the salient criticisms, the games go on this weekend at the AO Shirley Recreation Ground in Road Town, but without the participation of a contingent from St Vincent and the Grenadines.

With this being the case, it therefore is a given that it would be a difficult proposition for the SVGTU to convince head teachers, students, teachers, parents and coaches that in 2018, when the games come around again, they will be participating, as they are now used to experiencing customary disappointments.