ADRIAN SAM of the Petit Bordel Secondary School in the Boys High Jump Inter-Secondary Schools qualifiers last Wednesday
Sports
April 5, 2022
Resumption of school sports an historic event – Joseph

LAST, THURSDAY March 31, 2022 saw the completion of two days of heats for the 2022 Inter-Secondary School Athletics Championships at the Sir Vincent Beache Stadium in Diamond. The heats were held on Wednesday, March 29, and Thursday, March 31.

After a two year enforced lay off in schools’ sporting activity due to the COVID-19 pandemic, and exacerbated by the eruptions of La Soufriere volcano on April 9, students and sports officials were ready to get back to action.

President of the St Vincent and the Grenadines Athletics Association, Keith Joseph said resumption of schools sports was an historic event.

“We never had the experiences that have occasioned the postponement of this exercise in the way COVID-19 has dealt with us,” Joseph said at a media briefing last Monday March 28, which was held at the boardroom of the National Sports Council.

“In many respects the return of school championships mark a sort of resurgence, it is a sort of welcoming back.”

The theme for the 2022 Inter- Primary and Inter-Secondary School Championships is: ‘We Are Back’, and Joseph added that “sports [has] always been seen as a major vehicle in the lives of our society and provides joy and entertainment and a sort of well-being; not that we are all right but that we are all together.”

Also speaking at the media briefing, Minister for Education, Curtis King said: “The pandemic and the explosive eruptions of La Soufriere volcano have had a tremendous impact on our students and our general population.”

He pointed out that there was learning loss, and while many focused primarily on the students when learning loss is mentioned, there is a very important part of the curriculum where the students would also suffer major loss, and that is in the area of sports.

“Sports as a curriculum activity- and every year we have a culmination of the various sporting programmes in what we call inter-secondary school sporting competitions…athletics, football, cricket, volleyball, table tennis,” King stated.

Athletics is one of the major inter-schools events which attract major participation, and the largest participation by students and members of the public is the athletic championships.

“Having witnessed several sporting events put on by the respective schools, our schools are looking forward to the return of inter-school athletics,” King further stated. “Therefore we are very happy to be part of this process.”

In the latter part of 2020 going into 2021, officials from the Ministry of Education and the Ministry of Sports held discussions regarding the administration and execution of inter-school sporting activities in St. Vincent and the Grenadines.

“Out of those meetings a decision was made that the Ministry of Education through the schools will continue the technical development of the students in the various sporting disciplines, but as to the administration and execution of the Inter-Secondary School competitions, those will now be the responsibility of the Ministry of Sports. That proposal was taken to Cabinet, and it was accepted,” King added.

He went on to state that he is very happy with this arrangement, “because it means now that the Ministry of Education will work closely with the people with the expertise to do these competitions and we are hoping that this arrangement will serve our nation’s youth.”

Minister of Sports, Frederick Stephenson meanwhile, was pleased with the return of school sports and, “I am happy that Cabinet saw it fit after discussions between officials from the Ministry of Education and the Ministry of Sports- more so between Minister Curtis (King) and I, in relation to how we move forward with the development of sports here in St.Vincent and the Grenadines.”

According to Stephenson, it is one government, and each ministry has its work to do.

“Let the Ministry of Sports take on the challenge of ensuring the discipline and the moving forward of the sports in St. Vincent and the Grenadines in collaboration with the Ministry of Education,”he said.

Stephenson pointed out that there is a lot of work to be done in the development and the advancement of sports in SVG “and it cannot be left up to the Ministry of Sports alone or the Ministry of Education but we are to have all stakeholders on board.”