SVG remains seated at the back of WISG’s class
On Target
August 4, 2023

SVG remains seated at the back of WISG’s class

The 2023 CBN/ Winlott Inc. Windward Islands Schools Games have come and gone. Yes, it did take place in Grenada, July 22 to 29.

In essence, the multi -discipline Games were making a return after a three -year absence, with the last edition held in 2019.

Of course, the major cause for the forced hiatus was the coronavirus pandemic that disrupted almost every sporting activity during that period.

Thankfully, some semblance of normalcy has returned, and the Games went ahead as planned.

Despite the lull, the format remained intact, with Track and Field, Male and Female Volleyball, Male and Female Basketball, Male Football and Female Netball, being the disciplines contested.

Following the eight days of competition, St Vincent and the Grenadines ended in the last position, behind regular champions- Grenada ( 41 points), with Dominica docking second on 31 points, and Saint Lucia – third with 23 points .

Interestingly St Vincent and the Grenadines failed to win any of the disciplines.

Their best showing was in female Volleyball gaining a second place. They were third places in Track and Field, male Volleyball and Football, and finished at the back of the pack in Netball as well as male and female Basketball. As such, the Vincentians’ points tally was a paltry 17.

Many who followed the preparation, or better still, the lack thereof, would not have been too surprised at the poor fortunes of the St Vincent and the Grenadines team.

We cannot forever do things the same way and expect different results.

Unfortunately, those who hold the reins of command are seemingly contented with just attending the Games, rather than making that conscious effort to leave a positive and lasting impression on the minds of those who represent the blue, gold and green of St Vincent and the Grenadines.

This, though, has been an all too familiar position for St Vincent and the Grenadines over the past decade.

Dating back to 2010, when St Vincent and the Grenadines champed the Windward Islands Schools’ Games title, we have gone empty handed since.

The records would also show that SVG were joint champions with Saint Lucia in 2009.

In 2011, SVG placed third; 2012- joint third with Saint Lucia; 2013-third ; 2014- second;2015 and 2016- third; 2017- last; 2018- joint second with Saint Lucia; and 2019- last.

Obviously, taking the statistics for what they are worth, we seem not good enough to reel in the title.

This column will readily opine that St Vincent and the Grenadines’ stock of eligible representatives to the annual WISG, are better than the final results often reflect.

As stated before, not much value is placed on the Games save and expect the cliched objective that the annual event, over the years, has forged life -long friendships, camaraderie among the participants, and other peripheral side shows.

The WISG goes beyond that as the future of the country’s Under-21 sporting assets in Track and Field, Netball, Football, Basketball and Volleyball are able to gauge their abilities versus the three other countries.

Hence, the WISG should not be a” glorified holiday” annually for the 60 plus young impressionable minds, but a constructed assessment of the status of the five disciplines at that age level.

The latter must be first and foremost on the agenda of schools and national sporting bodies’ policy makers especially as the 2024 edition of the WISG is set for St Vincent and the Grenadines.

Critically there has to be an overall plan to better St Vincent and the Grenadines’ position as host in the next 12 months, as they endeavour to cement key virtues during preparation.

Consecutive last places in 2019 and 2023 cannot be erased however, with a structured approach selecting the best possible teams, early identification of prospective representatives and coaches in a timely manner, astute technical support, and that concerted will to improve, have to be the preferred route from here onwards.

We have to go headways into providing the means and pathways to our young sportsmen and sportswomen; that success comes through dedication, commitment, sacrifice, coupled with their God- given aptitude.

The WISG is a good conduit for this trait to be entrenched in them.