Our Readers' Opinions
June 21, 2011

A future for primary schools’ athletics


Editor: The inaugural Inter-Primary School Athletics Meet should be considered a success, given the high level of participation among schools. Given the logistical undertaking, the Ministry of Education, Sports Department and other sports officials should be highly commended.{{more}}

The Ministry of Education should take heart from the successful completion of this worthwhile venture, especially given its negligible approach towards primary schools sports within recent years.

Major sports disciplines like cricket and football languish in the primary schools, despite a significant increase in sports officials in the administrative and nursery levels. Unfortunately, this increase in personnel is not matched with a cohesive and strategic sports plan. This has led to the systematic deterioration in standards, as crystallized by our poor showings in sub-regional competitions. Certainly, the decline in our national standards has its root in poor strategic planning at the nursery level. I can vividly recall the sense of excitement and community rivalry generated from the Inter-Primary School Cricket Competition! This competition served the dual purpose of unearthing talent and enhancing community spirit.

Families used to literally picnic beyond the boundary, whetting their appetites, being involved in heated debates while witnessing the future unfold before their very eyes! My fondest memory was camping out the day at Browns Town Playing Field watching primary schools’ cricketers engaged in enthralling battles, vying for cricket supremacy. This grass-root tournament has unravelled talents the likes of Hezron Lawrence, Kenroy Peters, Romel Currency, Neil Baptiste and the Cyrus brothers. The netball competitions were equally exciting, creating national talents such as Debbie Jordan, Dellarice Duncan, Jasmine Frank and Joanne Christopher.

Regrettably, this nostalgic recollection does not include Inter-Primary School Athletics, which was not in existence until recently. This is why the Ministry of Education should be applauded for spearheading the embryonic stage of this important aspect of primary schools holistic development. With Deputy Chief Education Officer Beverly Neptune as the driving force, I have all confidence that this competition will develop. However, despite her bubbly character and winning attitude, it is imperative that Ms. Neptune works with a supporting cast that will ensure that primary schools’ athletics is sustained.

Despite its many hitches, the Ministry of Education can take a lot forward from this year’s promising competition. Unlike the inaugural version, which was low-keyed and restrictive, priorities should be placed on promoting The Meet to a wider audience. Emphasis should also be placed on giving all schools the luxury of specialist PE teachers to improve fitness, thereby creating a level playing field. Remember, there might just be a future Olympic Champion in our hands, waiting to be nurtured. Let’s prepare him for his destiny.

Collin CA$H Haywood