Our Readers' Opinions
August 8, 2017
Matching excellence of the production of AIA with performance at WISG

EDITOR: Having witnessed a fair number of games in the Windward Islands School Games (WISG), it is with disappointment and disgust, then with discretion, that has prompted this analysis. We did not promote ourselves well in our performance, even as the regional tourists from Grenada, St Lucia and Dominica must have been impressed entering our Argyle International Airport (AIA). The results of SVG being the host of this year 2017 games, placing last and failing to win overall (the only island) any of the five sporting disciplines, is disconcerting. We really should have ensured that we performed creditably, especially since being the host.

The Ministry of Education, in conjunction with the five associations (football, athletics, netball, volleyball and basketball), need to make some adjustments. The team selection of 62 athletes (under 21 years of age and within the school system) should be made early and team training must be conducted in adequate time to be ready for the games. For instance, the teams for football, netball and even basketball can be selected towards the end of term 1 and training should commence at this time.

Here is a proposal for selection based on the sporting discipline. Each sport needs its basic specialists to complete a team and extras initially. Selection can be based on the various secondary and tertiary schools competitions. (The Ministries of Education/Sports need to ensure that all competitions are held): basketball – 5 males with 1 extra, 5 females with 1 extra; netball – 7 females with 3 extras; football – 11 males with 3 extras (covering GK, F and D/M); volleyball – 6 males with 1 extra, 6 females with 1 extra; and athletics – 5 males with 1 extra, 5 females with 1 extra.

In athletics, the five involve 1 for sprint (100m and 200m), 1 for middle distance (400m), 1 for long distance (800m and 1500m), 1 for the jumps and 1 for the throws. Of course, there is need for more athletes to compete in the relays, which can be taken from “a run-off” with others selected in the other sports.

Early team selection and adequate training (including nutrition) are vital for excellent performance. The approach must involve a synergy of top-down, bottom-up and middle-management. The stakeholders are the Ministry of Education, co-ordinating with the Ministry of Sports to collaborate with the five associations, who can have their coaches/officials work with the athletes/guardians to enhance our product. The head coach for respective disciplines could be kept for more than one year to ensure continuity and productivity at the games.

Some of these views expressed are personal and some are borrowed from persons with whom I have interacted, which include Woodrow Williams, Godfrey Harry, Chester Morgan, Wollis Christopher and Pamenos Ballantyne. It suggests that individually we are weaker, but collectively we are stronger and we can excel if we work together. It seems easier to flatten mountains, raise valleys, and perform gymnastics to construct the remarkable Argyle International Airport than to produce a synergy of people working toward excellence. We could have performed much better if we had employed these strategies.

Let this be the last year that we ‘come last’

Collin A John