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Do not pass it up


St. Vincent and the Grenadines will host the 2009 Windward Island Schools Games.

The annual multi-sport event, which is held among the four islands: Dominica, St. Lucia, Grenada and St. Vincent and the Grenadines comes our way this time around.{{more}}

Having patented the last position for some years now, it is time that we excavate ourselves from the abyss of under achievement and disappointment.

As hosts, this must be the year of renaissance and redemption. No longer can we revel in mediocrity and see it as our accepted level of excellence.

But this can only be done if every effort is made to not only improve in our performances, but see clearly how much the yearly exercise can beneficial to the nation’s young athletes.

It was during these Games some years ago that Adonal Foyle was spotted, and who not only received a US College education, but went on to play in the NBA, earning a decent living, and setting up himself for the future.

Sadly, our administrators have not come to the realisation of the course they should take, and we continue to grope in the dark with events like these.

We are still using the trial and error method, with no sort of systematic approach towards the development of the various disciplines.

The odds are stacked against us, as there has not been a serious thrust at the school level to have Sports properly streamlined, to ensure that athletes come through at a rapid pace.

The result is that some half-baked competitions had to be hastily arranged to facilitate the selection of the teams. No fault of the young sportsmen and women, as they were the beneficiaries of some child like displays by those who carry the weight of administration.

Having the core of what should comprise the male Volleyball team participate in the Firms and Industrial Tournament is a move not only to fast track preparation, but to give them that competitive edge.

This year must also see the deviation from the friend-friend selection of athletes on the team, but they must do so on merit. After all, there is now no trip is involved.

In addition, the country’s team should be afforded the best facilities on which to train leading up to the Games. That is not asking much.

A good and improved performance, however, is not restricted to the on the field activities. The Organising Committee, too, should endeavour to give a great account of themselves. Getting the right persons in their positions of strength and having a broad based selection of personnel, instead of the buddy -buddy partner format, will certainly make a good show.

Getting Vincentians to buy into the Games could also play a role in having some moral support not only for our athletes, but the others in general.

Maybe, the organizers, if they care to listen, could look seriously at timing the events to maximize support. If it is possible, fixture some of the Netball matches outside the Kingstown, namely at Keartons, where you can be guaranteed crowd support.

Also, if the Victoria Park is available, Football can be played there under the lights.

Vincentians surely should not pass up the chance to see the youthful Grenadian athlete Kirani James, who has attained a medal at the Youth World Championships, and is an emerging 400m specialist.

The only draw back is the he and others will have to run on the heavy sand based outfield at the main Arnos Vale Playing Field.

Similarly, this country’s participation in the inaugural Caribbean Games in July in Trinidad and Tobago should not be another trip for those selected on the various teams.

No stone should be left unturned in getting the best teams to travel to the twin-island republic, as it is being sold as having the regions’ best on show. In fact, the Games have been dubbed the Caribbean’s version of the Olympic Games.

We are among the eight teams selected for the Netball aspect of the Games. We should not pass up the opportunity to try to get back on the Netball map in the Caribbean.

Also our Track and Field athletes, where ever they are, should be part of this country’s contingent to attend the Trinidad and Tobago inaugural experience.

If we cannot do better on all fronts, the best bet for us is to pack it in and call it quits.

This column will not pass up another opportunity to call for the removal of the ‘Mound’ at the Sion Hill Playing Field.

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