On Target
August 9, 2019
Another cause for WISG lamentation

For yet another year, the St Vincent and the Grenadines team to the Winlott Inc. / CBN Windward Islands Schools’ Games, has not been able to put in a performance, worthy enough to put some joy in those who were chosen to represent the country.

When the 2019 edition ended last Sunday in Dominica, St Vincent and the Grenadines finished behind new champions St Lucia, Grenada and Dominica, in that order.

Placing last is bad, but doing so with only 19 points overall underscored the SVG’s team output.

This was a big dip from last year, when the country earned a second place in St Lucia.

To put the team’s 2019 performance into perspective, unlike the three other participating territories, St Vincent and the Grenadines did not show dominance in any of the disciplines contested.

On the contrary, St Vincent and the Grenadines occupied last places in male volleyball, female volleyball and female basketball.

SVG’s best showings in the Dominica outing were second places in football and male basketball and third positions in track and field and netball.

It may be only conjecture to say what have happened with male basketball, which had limited action, as like the entire games, the adverse weather that prevailed in Dominica, affected two of St Vincent and the Grenadines’ matches in that discipline.

Additionally, there were some encouraging performances in track and field, with Ulanda Lewis winning the females 100m and 200m, along with emerging middle distance female athlete Ashanti Richards taking the 1500m.

Too, the quartet of Kishroy Williams, Malik Ferdinand, Romar Stapleton and Trivis Fraser, who set a new mark in the males 4x 100m.

However, little can fault the female basketball team, as St Vincent and the Grenadines have showed little progress in this discipline.

This was coupled with the fact that there was no schools’ competition this year (male nor female), hence, worsened the position of the already weak female programme.

In the case of football, that discipline seems unable to get over the hump of Grenada, as again St Vincent and the Grenadines lost to them.

Netball was its usual self, as for the better part of the last decade, though this year, was not the best bench mark, as their match versus St Lucia was rained out, whilst being defeated by Dominica, but earned a win against Grenada.

But the underperformed discipline was volleyball, as both genders did not win a match, which was unaccustomed territory for St Vincent and the Grenadines in the past eight years or so.

St Vincent and the Grenadines is looked on among the four islands as the beacon in volleyball, as well as in the entire Eastern Caribbean Volleyball Association (ECVA) set up.

The status was acquired from the prowess exhibited by the senior men’s team over the last three years; a team that possess several players under the age of 21.

Not suggesting that the panic button should be pushed immediately, but some in-depth evaluation of the volleyball teams’ performances ought to be carried out, as they represent the immediate successors of the senior outfits.

Whilst it should be normal procedure that each association’s discipline will be evaluated, one does not foresee just a general report of the team’s sojourn to Dominica as being accepted.
Like as in previous years, this column has been asking for an analysis of each year’s performance.

Would it be simply back to normal programming, granted that the games have been tucked away for another year?

If so, does it stand to conclude that there is no set plan towards making a meaningful impact on the annual event?

Are those charged with framing the participation of the 62 student-athletes to carry the colours of St Vincent and the Grenadines at the games, clueless as to their desired objectives?

How long must St Vincent and the Grenadines simply be a team just to make up numbers?

Even the notion that the games, (in the case of St Vincent and the Grenadines) is a glorified holiday for students at the end of the school year, is getting much currency, as some have shown nonchalance to be part of the team.

But why worry though, as what exits at the Windward Islands Games is a true reflection of state of play in which sports is viewed and administered in the schools’ programme.

If nothing changes drastically, this exposition can be reprinted this time around in 2020, when the games touch down in Grenada.