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Let’s talk sports

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Call it a conversation, call it a symposium or a congress; call it what you will, but there is need for a national dialogue on sports.

But such a conversation must divert from the usual talk shop and grandiose promises that we have had in the past. Instead, it would be a focused attempt to chart and dictate the course of a developmental framework for the administration and execution of the defined policies.{{more}}

Such a forum has now become a necessity, because sports is fast developing into a sturdy economic base, but many persons here are contented with it as a recreational undertaking.

Additionally, one has to start looking for alternate avenues for diversification of our almost stagnant economic activities.

Generally, we view sports through the myopic lenses of the active athletes who go on to the fields, the courts or on the tables to compete against one another for a trophy or cash prize as the case may be.

However, through the global appeal that sports is attaining, numerous opportunities for persons to get into sports management and other attending service providers are mounting in numbers and variances.

Very few international teams travel today without their dieticians, physiotherapists, sports psychologists, logistical support personnel, among other specific duty officers.

Also, some international teams take along roving ambassadors, who are engaged in promotional responsibilities, with a tourism attached focus sold to the host countries.

So, one can readily accept the ever-changing landscape and the demands, thereby creating employment and career prospects.

Beyond that, sports is a conduit for social cohesion and with the many downturns in societal deviances, what more can assist in curbing such tendencies and provide a viable exit route?

Resigning ourselves to touting the multi-million dollar status that sports has been linked to, touting that it is an industry, does little good for us, unless we get a share of it.

We have been lingering on the matter too long and we are being left behind by even our neighbours, who have come full circle and acknowledge the potential of such a commodity.

What Barbados does annually, in wooing international sporting personnel to its shores, is no overnight occurrence, but a well planned out national agenda.

Over the years, visits from top world athletes, such as tennis players in Gael Monfils, Victoria Azarenka, sisters Serena and Venus Williams, John Isner for the Pon D Rock promotions, go beyond the confines of sports to a lift of the country as a tourism product.

This year, reports are that 2008 Formula One world champion Lewis Hamilton will join in an inaugural motor racing event slated for that island.

So, we are not in such a league, as it stands here, sports development and its marketing (if any), is left to the individual associations, which are limited in opportunities and scope.

Therefore, granted that potential of sports and its marketability, only a national curriculum will ever cut it.

Needed then are those who must first acknowledge sports and its viability, devise a platform to get the desired objectives going and work towards achieving them.

This is away from the continued arrogance displayed by some of our policy makers who are in the main ignorant of this vehicle for transformation.

Whilst St Vincent and the Grenadines is limited in many of the needed resources, we are indeed not bounded by ambitions and positive pursuits.

In realizing that goal of making sports a national agenda item, in all our doings and proposals for such a conversation, one prerequisite must be for those in authority to see the need for such an important confabulation.

But do they really have that forward thing acumen within their schemata?

According to the late revered Nelson Mandela: “Sport has the power to change the world. It has the power to inspire. It has the power to unite people in a way that little else does. Sport can awaken hope where there was previously only despair.”

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