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For better or for worse?

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St Vincent and the Grenadines’ joint second place in the 2018 CBN/Winlott Inc. Windward Islands Schools’ Games, which concluded in St Lucia last Sunday, marked an improvement of last year’s fourth place in the four-islands competition.

St Vincent and the Grenadines finished on 27 points, the same as St Lucia, thus sharing second place, behind perennial winners Grenada. The Grenadians tallied 33 points. Dominica was fourth on 25 points.

This year’s second place results were the best since 2014 for St Vincent and the Grenadines, when a second place was also attained.

In 2015 and 2016, St Vincent and the Grenadines, on both occasions placed third.

A closer analysis showed an improvement all round, compared to last year’s efforts, as SVG was able to better or maintain their placings in five of the seven disciplines.

Like 2017, St Vincent and the Grenadines finished second in football and male basketball, but went one better in male volleyball from last year’s second spot.

This discipline was the lone title for the Vincentians, but it was also better showing in track and field of second place from last year’s third, and female volleyball, which moved from fourth up to third.

But remaining firm in their fourth places from 2017, were netball and female basketball.

The 62 young sportsmen and women of our schools’ system must be lauded for at least presenting the nation with some better returns. Of course, they must be commended.

However, as encouraging the end results may be, for persons on the ground here, and who are in the know, it can be a false sense of acclamation as a good by–product of our schools’ sports over the past year.

Too, although the Vincentians’ outcomes were relatively commendable, the preparation for most of the units were inadequate.

Hence, it may be a false sense of security for the student–athletes that they can be called upon to have minimal training and preparation and still perform such that a second place was attained.

Several factors would have inhibited St Vincent and the Grenadines’ performance, as the malaise too has hit our outlook at the multi-discipline games, thus extending the continuum.

Whilst it may be highly improbable to have the best representatives in each of the disciplines, exertion of a greater push towards near the best has to be pursued.

But are those who are responsible for this country’s participation in the annual multi- discipline event, again going to wait until a few months prior to next year’s hosting in Dominica to hustle to put systems in place to get our sportspersons ready?

Are they going to do some analysis on two disciplines – netball and female basketball and put some corrective structures which would make certain that the players of these disciplines at least be competitive?

Conversely, are the other disciplines going to rest on their laurels and glorify their efforts, and not look to up the ante come 2019?

Are they looking at the bigger picture of St Vincent and the Grenadines and as impartial as possible select the best teams, devoid of alleged favouritism?

Are the persons of the various disciplines willing too, to also see from that wider angle, and allow their charges to compete in other disciplines rather than remain exclusive?

Whilst winning is not everything, it may be a good fillip for the youngsters to taste what it is like to be crowned Windward Islands Games champions.

The last occasion that St Vincent and the Grenadines was at the top of the pile was back in 2010.

Are the decision-makers satisfied to gloat in the reasonable second place, whilst foregoing the joy of victory, as mediocrity becomes the best effort?

We at our end have to start to effect change, and that change has to start from within.

This is so, as it is clear that Grenada has the edge, the formula and the drive for success, hence that country’s prolonged dominance of the annual exercise.

If not St Vincent and the Grenadines will continue to be the backup singers, while the Grenadians remain almost permanent occupiers of the lead actors and actresses.

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