December 10, 2010
“The Schools are the only hope” – Labban

Team Athletics SVG is targetting the school system to help resuscitate its Athletics Progamme.{{more}}

And, the athletics body is soon to set up a National Athletics Academy here.

The announcement of the plans came at a recent press conference held by the National Olympic Committee (NOC).

Technical Director of Team Athletics SVG, Gideon Labban, without giving a specific start up date, in outlining the setting up of the academy, gave the rationale for the need for such an institution.

He pointed to the absence of proper structures within the school system as well as the wider community.

“Because of the absence of certain structures within the school and also in the communities, we have found a drop off in participation in Athletics an interest in Physical Education”, Labban said.

Labban was making reference to the absence of trained Physical Education teachers in the primary schools and the almost disappearance of the club system in the communities.

He said that while some children show interest in physical activities at the lower juniors of the primary schools, on reaching Grade six, many cease participating, as they often concentrate on preparing for the Common Entrance Examinations.

“When they actually get into secondary school and are taken into a different environment, the interest is already lost, and I have found that happening over the years,” the Athletics Technical Director said he observed.

Labban said that he has seen athletes with potential to gain scholarships fall by the wayside because of that lack of continuity and structured progarmmes.

According to Labban, in an effort to correct this situation, the local athletics body plans to set up satellite training cells in different communities across St. Vincent and the Grenadines.

“We believe by setting up an academy, we could identify the coaches, zone them in different areas of the country, and have them carry out sessions,” Labban revealed.

“In this academy, we will have a little more organization, where we would monitor the progress of the coaches and the athletes”, he added.

Labban lamented that this sort of arrangement has been tried in the past, but there has been a lack of commitment on the part of the coaches, even though athletes at times have shown the willingness to train for their respective events.

Labban further pointed out that an integral part of the academy’s establishment is to work closely with the schools.

“The schools are the only hope we have,” he admitted.

Labban further told SEARCHLIGHT that once students can master the ABC’s, that is Agility, Balance Co-ordination and speed, at the primary school level, they are on their way to promoting proper Physical Education in the secondary school.

Labban also wants to see the afternoon sessions in the primary schools solely dedicated to Physical Education.

He dismisses the notion that Physical Education takes away from the traditional academic areas, but referred to studies which have shown the opposite, where it adds to students’ cognitive development. (RT)