SVG’s sporting exploits in 2019’s rear view mirror
On Target
January 3, 2020
SVG’s sporting exploits in 2019’s rear view mirror

As we said goodbye to 2019 a couple days ago, and anxiously look forward to 2020 and its prospects, one cannot help but accept and concede that St Vincent and the Grenadines continues to underachieve in relation to the returns from sports.

That under achievement involves the actual performances by our sportsmen and women, namely at the national, regional and international levels.

When one peers at the past 12 months in the rear view mirror, again without much to revel in, it was just another year when St Vincent and the Grenadines was present at regional and international outings.

Simply, the calendar rolled over and here we are at this same juncture, lamenting the mediocrity that our sporting stock has patented.

This is not in any way to take away from those who in some way provided an insight of what can be achieved if all round there is a greater fervour and thrust towards emerging from the mindsets of accepting modest returns, instead of pursuing excellence.

During 2019, the same names popped up for efforts that brought some semblance of national sporting achievement.

Ulanda Lewis’ double bronze medals at the Junior Carifta Games in the Cayman Islands, her double sprint gold medals at the Windward Islands Schools’ Games in Dominica, along with her record breaking run at the Whitsuntide Games in Grenada, put her ahead of the pack among female track athletes.

Likewise, Handal Roban claimed a bronze in the 800m for Under-20 males at the Carifta Games, also in the Cayman Islands. He added another bronze in the 800 m, this time at the NACAC Under-18 championships held in Mexico.

Still with Athletics, top female distance athlete Linda Mc Dowall retained the NACAC Chatoyer 10k, won both the Dennery Waterfall 10k, and the Caricom 10k, which were held in St Lucia.

Mc Dowall also placed second in the Guyana leg of the South American 10k, and was third in the UWI SPEC half – marathon.

On the other side of the gender, Junior Ashton copped both the Caricom 10 and the Dennery Waterfall 10k, and came in second in the NACAC Chatoyer 10k, a title which he surrendered.

Team wise, football seem to have had a breath of life during 2019, with the senior men’s team trumping the Windward Islands Football Association (WIFA) tournament, a feat which was replicated by the senior females.

The male team however went on to have a successful run in the CONCACAF Nations League, and just missed out of a direct ticket to the CONCACAF Gold Cup in 2021.

However, their chances are not over, as they will be engaged in a play off for a second shot at qualification, with a tie versus Guadeloupe in March.

Their successes in no small measure must be attributed to the work of head coach – Kendale Mercury, who took over the technical responsibilities at the back end of 2018.

Too, the female Under-14 outfit copped the CFU Challenge Shield in St Kitts and Nevis.

Whilst the aforementioned may serve as the best of the lot during the period under review, there were some others who are worthy of being included as respectable accomplishment.

Among them are Canada-based Vincentian Mekeisha Welcome who won bronze at the Pan Am Juniors; Shane Cadogan, who won bronze at the Carifta Swim championships, as well as tennis player Afe Lucas, who won the girls’ Under-12 title at the COTTEC.

The efforts of cricketers – Desron Maloney, Kesrick Williams, Sunil Ambris, Solomon Bascombe, Jephrena Joseph; footballers – Cornelius Stewart, Areka Hooper and Oryan Velox; swimmers – Mya De Freitas, Olivia Jack and Alex Joachim, along with encouraging signs of track athletes – Ashanti Richards and Nellie Ambriton.

Some persons may be wondering why some names were left out, but unless there was some dent on the regional scene at least, then highlighting performances only at the local level does not help us much in going forward.

As 2020 gets older, how longer must be we satisfied with these below par performances?

Are we contented with the crumbs from the table, when we can have the bread itself?

Should this column continue to do this exercise at the end of each year, only to highlight the few “good” performances and lament on them?

The next edition of this column will look at how the administrators and stakeholders of sports here in St Vincent and the Grenadines are playing their part in sports, and how they can better what is unfolding.

To all, a blessed, productive, prosperous sporting 2020 to you.