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The cupboard is almost bare


The pantry of sporting personnel who have shown the potential to keep St Vincent and the Grenadines’ name in the limelight, first of all regionally and ultimately internationally, is more or less bare.

It is without any shadow of doubt that within the last ten years, St Vincent and the Grenadines has not stood in good stead when it relates to sporting talents which are likely to move on to the next level. One does not have to look too far or wrack one’s brains to acknowledge that we do not have a production line, where potentially top athletes are rolled off.{{more}}

What then do we have?

In the realistic terms, St Vincent and the Grenadines possesses, a set of people who play sports generally for fun and games, sweat and for mere recreational purposes.

This is so despite the fact that many indulge their thought processes and hold on to that dream of making it big on the world stage, or even landing a professional contract overseas.

But these thoughts in recent times, have resided permanently in the minds of those who perceive, as they have dissipated into unachieved fantasies.

Overtime, there have been flickers of hope.

Therefore, when Eswort Coombs in 1994 placed third in the Pan American Games in the 400m, then returned in 1995 to take gold at the World University Games in Fukuoka, Japan and also won gold at the CAC Games, many thought St Vincent and the Grenadines was on the cusp of stardom.

However, he faded out and little came from him thereafter.

Similarly, for more than ten years, Pamenos Ballantyne ruled the Caribbean roads as he patented many of the middle and long distances races staged in the sub region and the wider region.

Today, Ballantyne is past his best; are we seeing any one who is on the horizon who is ready to take the baton from the good servant?

Ballantyne, over the years, has been able through his ability to benefit financially and make a name for himself and for St Vincent and the Grenadines.

Also for more than a decade, Juliana Nero has been a fixture on the West Indies Women’s Cricket team. She is on the home stretch of her career, and is there anyone who we can first of all make the regional team, more so, to maintain a place?

On the men’s side, since Nixon Mc Lean stepped up just over a decade ago, St Vincent and the Grenadines is yet to produce another test cricketer.

Yes, there are persons who have been selected to the West Indies Under-19 team, namely Dawnley Grant, Delorn Johnson, Sunil Ambris and most recently Ray Jordan.

Johnson has received sporadic appearances on the West Indies A team.

But that is where our look in has recycled and no more.

Similarly, how many footballers are there carrying the St Vincent and the Grenadines flag as professionals?

Except for Marlon James who is also at the tail end of his chequered career in Malaysia and Cornelius Stewart in Finland, do we have any other who is earning a living from their football skills?

Not even on the once easy market place of Trinidad and Tobago are our players able to break into.

Ezra Hendrickson proudly represented St Vincent and the Grenadines in Major League Soccer for many years; Adonal Foyle still remains our lone NBA basketballer, while other Vincentians — Sancho Lyttle and Sophia Young have left a positive dent on WNBA.

Unfortunately for St Vincent and the Grenadines, much of our sporting stock, which is home grown, lack the nurturing required to step out from the “good” stage to the exportable status.

But the status quo will remain intact if things are not put in place to see sports more than just a past time.

Sports, today is one of the biggest industries worldwide, but whilst no one expects St Vincent and the Grenadines to mint a fortune, at least, let us make sport worthwhile by giving the disciplines some national prominence.

This is not only for those who make the mouthing audible whenever Vincentians do something of note on the sub regional or regional scene, but all the stakeholders in sports, inclusive of the athletes themselves.

A comprehensive plan for sports as well as that will to succeed is the main panacea.

Until, Happy 34th Independence anniversary to all.