Labban stepping up
August 17, 2007

Labban stepping up

Getting this country’s track and field programme to the next level is one of the major objectives of Team Athletics SVG’s Technical Director Gideon Labban. He has the know how and will, but achieving this goal puts him in a predicament.{{more}}

Speaking to SEARCHLIGHT, Labban identified the areas that are confronting the progress of the sport.

He thumbed the lack of commitment by local coaches and inadequate training facilities that have seen this country not producing the athletes as it should.

“The problem is not raw material but lack of commitment by many of the local coaches. In addition, a lot of our athletics coaches are not full time track and field”, Labban said.

Added to his woes, Labban revealed, “Some of the coaches (are) putting up a resistance and I am not getting the support of some of them; two or three people can’t do the job”.

He admitted that many coaches have been trained but are not actively involved in coaching, further compounding the problems.

And with those athletes who have shown enthusiasm and the few committed coaches, Labban identified the absence of a facility where athletes can train regularly as another mitigating factor.

“We share facilities with other sports and there is no guarantee that you will get it for track on any given day”, Labban expressed.

But with the improved fields at Arnos Vale, Stubbs and Sion Hill, TASVG’s programme has found itself in a bind.

According to Labban, “These are sand based which are unfriendly for athletics”.

The technical director pointed to the fact that Courtney Bascombe, who is one of two athletes to participate in the World Championships in Osaka, Japan later this month, has been forced to train on the lawn area of the St. Vincent Grammar School.

Middle distance athlete Kineke Alexander is the other athlete making the Asian journey.

Bascombe attended the high performance centre in Jamaica, so too has Raffique Providence and Charmant Ollivierre who trained in Trinidad and Tobago ahead of the NACAC and PanAm Games held last month in El Salvador and Brazil respectively. The three were joined at those championships by Alexander who campaigns for Iowa University in the USA and Adonson Shallow stationed at Central Arizona College also in the USA.

In Labban’s opinion “Their performances were not what we expected, especially that they were exposed to high performance training prior to the games”.

Shallow gained a silver medal in the Discus and Alexander bronze in the 400m at the less competitive El Salvador outing.

But neither of the athletes got past the first round of competition at the more prestigious PanAm Games, with the two biggest hopefuls, Shallow and Alexander returning under par performances.

Labban believes that the contingent to the games was not the best the nation has at its disposal.

Undaunted by these setbacks, Labban disclosed that with the launch of the 2012 initiative, where some top performers at recent local meets have been identified for further training, would add quality to the stock of athletes.

Linked to this initiative Labban said they are making another effort to recruit more coaches, who he hopes, will show a passion for track and field. (RT)