Success is not cheap
Often times, the end product of sports performance is measured mainly by the medals and matches won, records broken and titles achieved.
But behind the scenes, there is where the success begins and is achieved; the perspiration, the many long hours of practice, physical and mental conditioning, repetitive drills, tactical assimilation and the likes.
This is true for all sporting disciplines the world over, and St Vincent and the Grenadines is no exception.
Gaining optimum success in sports has never been and will never be a fly by night affair, but through hard work, sweat and sometimes tears.
Most of all though, and must be added to the mix, has to be the financial factor, as everything has that vital monetary input. In short, success has a price, which is not cheap.
Indeed, sportmen and women often have to dig deep into their shallow pockets to fund their training, get nutrients, tranportation to and from competitions, purchase gear, you name it.
Some may be helped, though, from some concerned, benevolent citizens or get assistance from their clubs or club officials.
So, as St Vincent and the Grenadines positions itself in the field of sports, much thought of the financial implications, as it relate to our involvement, must be factored in.
From the input of central government, state agencies such as the National Lotteries Authority, the National Sports Council, the various national sporting associations and other stakeholders, there needs to be carefully crafted and definitive policies, on what we as a people, want out of sports.
There is often the hue and cry about the lack of St Vincent and the Grenadines’ achievements in sports over the past two decades. Widely accepted, we have not attained the heights and successes, relative to our respective talents.
Conversely, we have failed to place emphasis on the financing of sports, which would have ensured the success we are yearning to have on a continuous basis.
Noted though, we are not a wealthy country, as the little we have must go a long way, as the pie is small, but there are many mouths to be fed.
And, minus a really binding national sports policy for St Vincent and the Grenadines, things are done at the national level in a somewhat adhoc manner.
Therefore, as we persist with having that champagne taste, but with mauby pockets, then choices have to be made, priorities have to be established and harsh decisions taken.
It has to be reinforced that infrastructural developments, although very much welcome, are not all to sports.
Starting at the top, there must be a greater direct financial input channelled towards sports, its development and that of the personnel integrally involved.
This will necessitate the setting up of a funding programme for elite national sportsmen and women, as it is the case in other Caribbean countries.
There was the usual colourful talk some years ago, with the establishment of the Prime Sports Foundation. This foundation, which was not a bad concept, was set up out of convenience at the time, rather than with real intent.
With a shaky foundation, all came crashing, and we have heard little since.
Therfore in 2020, going soon into 2021, state agencies, which have been set up to assist and fund sports here, have to reconfigure their operations to really and truly carry out their true mandate.
Of note too, national associations which have the benefit of regular income stream from their regional and international bodies, must begin to provide more financial assistance to their affiliates.
Sometimes one gets the impression that these administrators of sports here believe that providing assistance to their affiliate clubs is a privilege and not a right.
These administrators have taken on the plenty for twenty approach, expecting their constituents to be at the best from their miniscule input.
Like the proposal for an elite system to propel athletes (used here generally), national sporting associations have to design funding programmes for their top performers.
Taking our sportsmen and women from their God-given talents to stardom is no simple exercise, but one which requires financial support from as soon as that talent identification process is done.