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Double Whammy!

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The announcement of the cancellation of the 2011 National Lotteries Authority National Sports Council’s National Sports Awards is indeed a telling blow to sports here in St. Vincent and the Grenadines.{{more}}

One may simply see it as a mere cancellation, but when you go beyond the surface, it points to a deeper attitude towards sports.

Readily, those involved, namely the National Sports Council (NSC) and the respective national sporting associations, would point fingers at one another, and understandably so.

However, the NSC and most of the associations are responsible and must shoulder the blame, as very few of the associations really made a conscious effort to make the national awards ceremony, one befitting on what it is suppose to be.

The fact that there was no hue and cry by the sporting bodies affected by the non-staging of the ceremony, further compounds the state of affairs.

It was as if no one cares about the event, hence, no love has been lost.

But, it starts from within, as only Team Athletics SVG and the St. Vincent and the Grenadines Cricket Association on a consistent basis see the need internally to reward their top athletes, thus, annually, they stage their own awards and prize giving ceremony.

And, as the progression takes place, the awardees go forth to the national showpiece.

Also, organisers, the National Sports Council, seemed to have, over time become a passenger with those associations in the driver’s seat of the vehicle of nonchalance.

The NSC seems to be oblivious to those associations which over the years have been tardy in the operations.

Not advocating draconian punitive measures, but it is the same associations which have to seek authorisation from the NSC to get funding for their annual programmes.

But the NSC’s hands are sometimes tied behind its back, and blind folded, as the associations often jump the line of command and get by through their political affiliation.

As with everything else, sports has its own nuances; the internal politics of the sporting bodies, personalities and party political differences among key personnel in the set up.

How the National Sports Council, as custodians of the awards showcase, is able to resuscitate the already indifferent approach to the occasion, creates the biggest challenge in going forward.

Resuming next year will be a difficult proposition, as the NSC will have to take a fresh approach and make the 2012 ceremony one with panache and glitter.

Starting afresh means winning back the confidence of those who supported the event prior to its degradation.

Treading with caution though, the NSC cannot afford to hang its hat where it cannot reach.

Therefore, in attempting to offer more attractive prizes to the next set of winners, it would be setting a new mark which it may not be able to maintain in the future.

It will be foolhardy for us to go the way of others who host similar national sporting awards, when the fragility and porous nature of our national purse cannot suffice.

Despite this, there should be some increase, though not substantial, to the winners of the various judged categories, in helping to make the awards more meaningful and rewarding.

In going forward, too, the NSC should once more look at franchising the event, which, apart from taking the burden from their shoulders, could also assist in erasing some of the abrasions which have incurred over time with the hosting of the annual ceremony.

Ensuring that there is almost a fixed date for the convening of the awards ceremony, also provides a sense of certainty and calendar prominence on the sporting landscape.

The NSC should also encourage the other national associations to stage their in house recognition and awards programme.

The organisers in the interim, too, should throw the ball into the court of the national associations and work with them in reinvigorating the awards showcase.

Whatever the think tanks come up with, it must be made clear that sportsmen and sportsmen of St. Vincent and the Grenadines must have a time when the performances during the calendar year are relived and rewarded with glamour and glitter.

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