August 27, 2004
‘Basketball, an escape route’

Vincentian youths, male and female, are finding another escape route from poverty, and it is not based only on academic performance. They are combining their sporting and academic skills, and through that linkage are taking up basketball scholarships at universities abroad. {{more}}
During training, the youngsters enhance their athletic capabilities and gather valuable instructions, which make them eligible not only for elevation, but also for lucrative jobs.
So far, some 46 Vincentians have benefited from basketball scholarships and a number of ladies have joined the list.
Thornley Mayers, Vinlec’s chief executive officer, made the observations last Tuesday morning. He was speaking at a ceremony for the handing over of EC$25,000 to the local basketball federation. The money will help to run this year’s Vinlec National Basketball Championship.
The tournament is slated to begin September 4, with two divisions on mainland St. Vincent, one in Bequia including Mustique, and the other in Union Island, catering to teams in Mayreau and Canouan.
The winner of each Zone will play in a Champion of Champions clash for national honours. Each Zone will also produce an All Star team for the Zone championship.
Mayers traced the development of basketball here during his address, and noted that basketball’s success was cutting in on the region’s cricketing reservoir. Mayers pointed out that the region’s taller, stronger athletes, who formed the core of the West Indies fast bowling attack, were gravitating towards basketball.
Mayers noted the proliferation of hard courts built in collaboration with the National Lotteries Authority. The Vinlec CEO recounted Vinlec’s role in providing electricity for the hard courts, and attributed the increase in hard courts to the number of persons playing basketball.
In that regard, Mayers pointed to the lighting of a hard court at South Rivers, and the provision of the facility at Cumberland for the community’s use.
Mayers pledged Vinlec’s commitment to the basketball federation, having been satisfied with the performance of the basketball federation.