Windward Islands Schools’ Games – time for another review
The ageless Windward Islands Schools’ Games (WISG), despite having a period when the annual extravaganza was shelved, has over the years served the goals intended.
Like everything else, changes have come to the games, with the most significant coming in 2011.
With the passage of the inevitable time, and with the dynamics of sports going through metamorphoses, a review of the format of the games would be timely.
Therefore the change agents must be activated and push for a relook at the configuration of the various teams to encourage more pure athletes, hence making the games more competitive.
No longer can the idea of persons doubling and tripling up, as it is physically detrimental to do, since the games are cramped into an eight-day period.
The need for purity among the disciplines, is compounded by the fact that many of the substitutes or fringe players do not possess the abilities to hold their own, thus putting greater pressure on the starting teams.
Furthermore, reports are that many of the selectees are reluctant to double up, thus reducing the quality of the various disciplines.
It has also been borne out that some who are otherwise coerced to fill in a discipline, under perform as a form of protest not to be selected.
This type of cyclical consequence, cannot augur well for the future of the games, and the development of the young sportsmen and women, who use the games as a platform to build their credentials.
Another serious look must be taken in evaluating all the disciplines which compose the games.
Simply from the eye test, it would seem that female basketball is the discipline which displays the least abilities among the females who show up as participants.
This discipline appears to be the one which some countries struggle to find a rounded team.
Whilst this may be reflective of the state of the female side of the sport in the respective islands, it can be reasoned that this discipline be cut entirely from the list.
This will allow the other disciplines – football, netball, male and female volleyball, male basketball and track and field to up their quota of pure selectees.
If such drastic action is feared, another option is to have female basketball being alternated with maybe with the introduction of female football or mixed gender of male table tennis.
Those latter sporting disciplines are more grounded in the four islands than female basketball and should give better showings.
Also need for a look in, is the track and field component, which can do with some adjustments.
It appears that this discipline has been fixed as the first to always be contested.
With this accepted as a given, then it is pointless having those specialist athletes who have competed by day one, be idle for the greater part of the games.
Conversely, the same holds for those disciplines which sometime begin at late as day three of the games.
It stands, to reason, that the various teams’ arrival to the host country can be staggered, thereby cutting cost, as well as have the best representatives on show.
Too this can also allow for more quality participation in track and field.
Extension of the idea can also harbour the possibility of a two day track and field event.
Above all though, there must be some permanent administrative structure put in place to run the games all four territories.
Such a body would ensure that notwithstanding the marginal infrastructural differences which exist among the islands, that some sort of common administrative measures be employed.
It is imperative that this be done, so that the best match officials too, be the guardians of the technical and adjudication aspects of the games.
This committee must move the games from just a sporting activity, but to a product.
Honesty must take precedence at this time, and it must be agreed that within the last decade, the annual Windward Islands Schools’ Games has progressively become diluted.
Taking an analytical look at the games soonest, with the view of bettering the activities, can see a change in direction in the shortest possible time frame.