IPSAC/ISSAC in review pt 2
On Target
April 14, 2023

IPSAC/ISSAC in review pt 2

As promised, after looking at the glows at the staging of the 2023 National Lotteries Authority Inter- Primary Schools Athletics Championships (IPSAC), and Inter- Secondary Schools Athletics Championships (ISSAC) finals, held at the Sir Vincent Beache Stadium on March 29 and 30, respectively, this column will point out some of the lows of the two days.

Additionally, a few suggestions are forthcoming, all geared towards the enhancement of the annual Track and Field extravaganza.

As such, despite the successes of the aforementioned events, there were blemishes and bloopers that require a look in, and the corrective measures instituted.

First up, there has to be better event management as the IPSAC finals ended too late. This was occasioned by inordinately late starts coupled with some inexcusable delays as there seemingly was no one proficient enough to be on top of things.

As a consequence, the presentation ceremony which should have been the crowning moment for the athletes, was riddled with setbacks, hence the effect of the occasion was lost in transition from performance to reward.

To add insult to injury, the lack of security and efficient management of the ceremony resulted in a few unsavoury incidents as unwanted and unauthorized persons were allowed to encroach in the vicinity of the presentation area.

Overall, it cannot be good marketing for the product, granted that the event is streamed and people’s time is of the essence.

Given what unfolded on March 29, can we really seriously think of going pay per view with this type of slipshod management of that particular event?

Set apart, there were some glaring flaws with the officiating that need urgent attention.

Clearly, there were instances of ignorance and incompetence on the part of some officials.

Not to mention their body language and their inability to control their emotions, thus they showed open support for some athletes and their institutions.

This type of response runs counter to the intent of unbiased officiating and compromises the integrity of the offending officials, and more the sport of Track and Field.

Meanwhile, URGENT consideration must be given to improving the structural lay out of the Sir Vincent Beache Stadium.

Vincentians welcome the track, we have seen its positive impact on the psyche of the nation’s athletes, coaches, parents and the wider sporting public.

However, more has to be done soonest, to avoid a potential catastrophic outcome during the hosting of a major event at the venue.

Of note, the relevant government authorities have to be knocked for persisting with one entrance and one exit at these events. This does not augur well for the hosting of large events and, if not remedied, can pose a security and safety threat in the future, should anything untoward erupt at the venue. This column says fix that, even if it is temporary for such occasions.

We have seen the growth and popularity of Track and Field here in St Vincent and the Grenadines and what is taking place with the Inter- House Championships at some secondary schools, it may be the best choice for the policy makers, to go the way of hosting the ISSAC finals over two days, Saturday and Sunday.

Preceding these suggested two days, the IPSAC finals would take place on the Friday, hence a grand weekend (Saturday and Sunday) affair for ISSAC.

Relatedly, as we move to better these events, it is also prudent for the sustainability of our athletes that a cap be put on the number of events in which an athlete can participate.

Some of our athletes both at the Primary and Secondary Championships were asked to compete in as many as six events in the finals of a one-day championship.

This cannot be right on the frail bodies of our athletes, some of whom are our best prospects.

Physical Education Teachers and coaches need to put the athletes’ health above a few points and short- lived glory.

Therefore, should we persist with a one-day championship or extend to two days as previously suggested, then two flat races- one relay and maybe one field event- should be the limit per athlete.

Furthermore, this column is suggesting a doing away with the points system and move to medal count as the method to declare the winners.

These stipulations can and will assist in avoiding athletes been literally run to the ground.

In conclusion, no one expects a prefect execution of IPSAC and ISSAC, but striving for perfection must be the mantra of the organisers and all concerned with the staging of these two marquee schools’ sporting events.