On Target
July 15, 2022
Mixed fortunes for Vincentian sports

AS THE COUNTRY settled down to recuperate from the Carnival festivities that officially ended July 5, there was no respite nor recovery period for some of our sporting ambassadors.

During the period July 6 to 12, St Vincent and the Grenadines’ representatives were engaged in regional sojourns in Squash, Volleyball and Netball.

Squash as it turned out, was the top achiever among the lot. Fielding a four-member team to the Junior Caribbean Area Squash Association( CASA) Championships, St Vincent and the Grenadines was able to pouch two gold medals.

Responsible for the top places were Jayden George and Jaydon Williams. George won the Boys Under-13 and Williams, the Boys Under-15.

In the process, they join other Vincentians who have been crowned Junior CASA champions. Among they who have stood at the pinnacle of previous championships were Paul Cyrus, Diarra Venner, Kevin Hannaway and Jason Doyle.

In the most recent outing, George and Williams, who were both seeded number one, played unbeaten, albeit in only three matches.

It was exceptional for George, who in 2019, at the last hosting of the championships, won the Under-11 title.

To put their performance into perspective, it was the first time that St Vincent and the Grenadines has been able to get two golds at one Junior CASA championships.

Kudos are in order for the local coaches who worked with the two winners, as well as Ciara George who placed sixth in the Girls Under-15 and Nadira Morgan, the fourth place in the Girls Under- 17. Critical to the Vincentians’ overall performance, was the fact that during 2020 and 2021, the courts at the National Squash Centre at Paul’s Avenue, remained open.

This was unlike other countries in the region which were under severe lock down because of fears of the spread of the novel coronavirus.

Therefore, this disparity may have worked in favour of the Vincentians.

Hopefully, the local Squash players can continue their training regimen and have that thirst and hunger for success.

But the Vincentians would have an added reason to perform, as the 2023 edition is earmarked for hosting here in St Vincent and the Grenadines.

However, as there were moments of joy for the Squash players, in Antigua, our senior men’s Volleyball team was dethroned as champions of the Eastern Caribbean Volleyball Association’s (ECVA) tournament.

In fact, the Vincentian outfit which pouched the title in 2018, was relegated to the fifth place.

There are more reasons than just the final placing, as the Vincentians were faced with many adversities in the tournament, inclusive of extended overlays in Barbados occasioned by flight delays.

Additionally, there were issues with accommodation which resulted in them having little rest.

Also, the fixturing also worked against the former champions, who essentially played three matches in less than 24 hours.

Despite the debilitating factors, which other teams experienced in Antigua, the outing should form a technical gauge to assess the current status of the abilities of our Volleyballers.

Indeed, St Vincent and the Grenadines is seen as a powerhouse in the senior men’s segment of the ECVA set up.

Expectations were high that St Vincent and the Grenadines, with its pedigree would have at least been in the semi-finals, but that was not to be.

It points to the persons responsible for the development of the sport, to reassess the available talents and work towards regaining the top spot.

The relatively new executive of the SVG Volleyball Association has to, as a point of priority, embark on solidifying the sport at the lower levels and rebuild that base which has collapsed on the pressure of administrative shortcomings.

Finally, St Vincent and the Grenadines competed in a three-match friendly Netball series against Barbados in Barbados.

Unfortunately, the Vincentian senior team lost all three matches. Again, this should be worthwhile analyses of the present condition of the sport.

But as this column addressed in its previous exposition, fixing Netball and its performance and results when matched against other territories in the region, will not be a fly by night undertaking.

Again, let us give the administrators of the sport, that they will show some active response and put things in place to have Netball moving northwards.

So, whilst it was a mixed bag within the period of review, it was necessary for evaluation purposes, as the respective personnel crank up the engines and rev up and head in the direction of progress.