Our Readers' Opinions
July 11, 2014
Open letter to president of the SVGNOC re discrimination in sports

Fri, Jul 11, 2014

Dear Sir,

Is it the practice of the SVGNOC (St Vincent and the Grenadines National Olympic Committee) to discriminate against an athlete because of his/her age?

Based on the results from the last two years of competition in SVG table tennis, the two best players are Carlton Samuel and Robert Ballantyne.{{more}} How is it then that neither of these players has been selected to represent SVG at the 2014 Commonwealth Games?

Discrimination is defined as unequal and unfair treatment of individuals on the basis of race, ethnicity, religion, sex or age which results in denial of opportunities, selection or promotion. Is this a practice of the SVGNOC?

According to the Code of Ethics of the Olympic Charter (2013), under the section Dignity

1. Safeguarding the dignity of the individual is a fundamental requirement of Olympism.

2. There shall be no discrimination between the participants on the basis of race, gender, ethnic origin, religion, philosophical or political opinion, marital status or other grounds.

Also under Principle 6.1 Right to participate and involvement of the athletes in the Olympic and Sports Movement and governing bodies, the right of athletes to participate in sports competitions at an appropriate level should be protected. Sports organisations must refrain from any discrimination.

I repeat, the charter clearly and emphatically states that “Sports organisations must refrain from any discrimination.” How is it then that you are allowing this practice by the Table Tennis Association?

Sean Stanley, a member of the Executive of the SVG Table Tennis Association, in response to a posting by Jerry George on Facebook writes:

“Orde Ballantyne, as a christian you need to get your facts straight before blah. There was never a trials for selection of a team to the Commonwealth Games involving your brother. The Association is investing in young people. Your brother is 55 years old. SVG cannot win a medal or come in the top ten at the Games irregardless (sic) to the composition of the team. The Association had four tournaments, your brother won one. A 14-year-old Bajan player of Vincentian parentage beat your brother twice and all the other players. This strenghtens our point why we must expose your youths. I was never involved in any trials. I played all the tournaments just to help with the level. I am 46 years old and there is no light at the end of the tunnel for me as a tennis players. I cannot get better with my age and so is the level in the country if the Association invests in people like me. The Association has nothing personal against any player. This ‘represent till yo weary’ thing must be eleminated in order for the sport to grow. I am a master now so I look forward to compete regionally and internationally in this area.”

Clearly his comments speak to the discriminatory and unethical practice of the Association and sir, is your august body is allowing this practice at the national selection level, violating the code of ethics that you should subscribe to? Is it that you are not aware or is it that you have closed your eyes and ears to the plight of senior citizens who are still heavily involved in competitive sports?

Please sir, perhaps you were hoping that no one would unearth your illegal and unethical practice; but now that it is in the open, what do you intend to do about it?

Respectfully

Orde Ballantyne
[email protected]