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Overview or overhaul?

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The National Sports Awards, recognizing the achievements of those who in one way or the other contribute to sports here in St. Vincent and the Grenadines, came off last Saturday night.

Held at a different venue, the fourth in as many years; within the second quarter of the year, the latest staging for many years; the event, despite its perennial teething issues, was a worthwhile exercise.{{more}}

An experiment with the presence of the Caribbean Sea in the background at the back of the Media Centre at the Arnos Vale Playing Field, added a nice ambience to the occasion. There were indeed some improvements on last year’s décor. Experimental it may be this time around, but the NSC should really try to get it right by settling on a permanent venue for the annual exercise.

In addition, a fixed date must be put to this event so that no one should be asking when it is due. This year’s event was almost forgotten.

While the sports awards came off fairly successfully, there was an air of nonchalance covering the build up to last Saturday’s awards ceremony. The actual event suffered from a throw back of the indifference.

This was reflective in the reduction in the number of nominees for the categories and the number of associations that participated.

The issue of late entries and most recently, no submissions, has been so for many years, as some associations continuously refuse to place any significance on the awards ceremony. Some associations could not submit any nominations as in their ranks nothing is really happening.

The time surely has come for the National Sports Council to tighten its grip on these associations who continuously flirt with the deadlines. Conversely, the NSC must on all grounds, exhibit that level of proficiency to be able to have that moral authority to reprimand these transgressors.

Whilst there is no perfect judging system, the NSC must also look seriously at the criteria for judging in the various categories of awards.

Yes, there have been changes to the weighting of the points and we will never get it right, but with the current system, some persons may never even be considered for an award despite their outstanding performances.

For the individual awards, the categories are for performances on the local, regional and international scene. Added are Personal and General Attributes, Contribution to/ Impact on the sport, and Leadership qualities.

Whilst many athletes will score points on the local and regional scenes, many will lag when they are judged on the international category.

According to the judging system: International (i.e. the event(s) took place outside of the Caribbean, or within the Caribbean but with 50 per cent or more of the competing teams and individuals being non-West Indian).

So one can see the problem even though that category carries only 15 points.

Personal attributes carry another 45 points in total.

So whilst the judges have to be objective and must adjudicate from what is submitted by the respective associations, then this segment of personal attributes could certainly by clouded by subjectivity.

Review

The NSC, in order to add some meaning to the National Sports Awards must clearly define what is the role of the Sports Personality of the Year.

Year after year, the individual who gets the award absorbs the glory for nine days, then everything is back to square one.

He or she is not given any task to promote the ideals of sports, or made to represent at tasks which in any way give credence to their status of Sports Personality of the Year.

Also, as I have always proffered, greater financial and other tangible incentives must be given to the winners of the various categories.

The fact that there are no “big prizes” up for the taking, then some do not see the awards as any “biggy”.

Probably incentives of a tertiary scholarship to eligible winners and some good cash awards could help inject some enthusiasm into the yearly ceremony.

In the case of the 2008 Sports Personality winner Kevin Hannaway, a deferred award towards his attendance to a local tertiary institution, could help as an incentive to fulfill a desire, or assistance to him with books for the remaining years at secondary school, could be another option.

Whatever, some way must be found to breathe renewed breath into the National Sports Awards, which must be kept as a beacon for the nation’s athletes.

Congrats are in order for all the winners.

No limelight is there, though, for the persistence of the “Mound’ at the Sion Hill Playing Field.

Email: kingroache@yahoo.com

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