Working towards a two-way street
On Target
June 2, 2023

Working towards a two-way street

Over 200 Vincentians were part of a contingent that in some way contributed to the 2023 hosting of the Whitsuntide Games at the Kirani James Athletics Stadium, Grenada on May 27 and 28.

Statistically, St Vincent and the Grenadines’ representatives accounted for about 25% of the participating force at the two-day event.

While it is not the first occasion that this country has had representation at the Games that dates back to the 1950s, the numbers marked the largest to have left these shores for the Games.

One may also be tempted to believe, it was the largest exodus of Vincentians sportsmen and women to any sporting event anywhere in the world.

The spoils after the two days of competition saw the Vincentian athletes haul in 46 medals all told; eight more than in 2022. The distribution showed 10 gold, 16 silvers and 20 bronze.

As such, High Performance collected 14, comprising 1 gold, 3 silver and 11 bronze; X- Ceed Sports Club pouched 9 medals: 3 gold, 3 silver and 3 bronze; Troumaca Mustangs: 1 gold 4 silver and 2 bronze, a tally of 7; and IT DAT Academy, who were not part of last year’s happenings, collected 5, comprised of 3 silver and 2 bronze.

X- Cel Track Club earned 3 gold medals; first timers- ROSES Academy: 1 gold, 1 silver and 1 bronze; Chatoyer, 1 gold and 1 silver; and the St Vincent Grammar School Track Club: 1 silver and 1 bronze.

Set aside the increased medal count, the excursion to Grenada would have served our athletes, coaches, parents and others in good stead.

This type of competition provides a gauge of where we are comparatively with others in the OECS region and the wider Caribbean.

For many, it was their first competition outside of St Vincent and the Grenadines, and such experience would have left an indelible impression on them.

Hopefully, they would use the outing to up their game relative to the amount of work they put in, as well as to develop greater seriousness and their competitive spirit.

Critically, the fact that local clubs saw it fitting to raise the necessary funds to travel to Grenada for the Whitsuntide Games, exemplifies the interest there is, for the sport here in St Vincent and the Grenadines.

One would readily assume that many are already in planning mood for next year’s event in the Spice Isle, albeit that country will be hosting the Junior Carifta Games, a couple months prior.

Despite the long history of the Whitsuntide Games, there has to be something that is attracting the Vincentian clubs there.

Probably, the Local Organizing Committee in Grenada is doing something that we need to adopt now that we have a fully operational synthetic track.

Therefore, we are loading the Whitsuntide Games, but we are not experiencing anything near the reciprocity with our national championships.

Yes, over time, there was some regional participation, but in dribs and drabs.

This has been the case even before we got the services of the track, as few overseas athletes came through on the grass surface at the Arnos Vale Playing Field.

Most recently, the 2023 championships held last month attracted a single entrant from Trinidad and Tobago, while in 2022, three Grenadians came over.

But when one gleaned from what transpired in Grenada over the last weekend, there was no considerable turn out of spectators, as opposed to who attend ours.

There were also some of the same, empty blocks as many registered athletes Did Not Start (DNS).

Similarly, there were four and five athletes in heats, as well as in the finals of some events.

Ironically, these are some of the complaints made by local track coaches, but are muted when the same happens elsewhere.

Therefore, the conversations and promotions have to start now as we seek to woo athletes and their entourages here for the hosting of our championships.

As it stood last week, the Vincentian contingent would have injected thousands of dollars into the Grenadian economy.

Obviously, getting the necessary regional competition and exposure comes with an attached cost.

The Vincentian clubs have exhibited enterprise and a go getter attitude, a cue that local track and field officials too can embrace.

Hence, the one-way traffic must not be allowed to continue; St Vincent and the Grenadines has to aim for a two- way street soonest.