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2006 sports in retrospect – A dormant year for SVG sports

2006 sports in retrospect – A dormant year for SVG sports

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SOFTBALL CRICKET

This type of cricket is no less competitive than hardball cricket and has been popular with many teams.

The Marriaqua, Top Belair and Greiggs competitions were held and with cash awards, many of this country’s top cricketers are gravitating to softball cricket.

In addition, tape ball cricket staged in North Windward is assuming greater significance.{{more}}

CYCLING

The St Vincent and the Grenadines Cycling Union came up trumps with a successful staging of the Villa Lodge OECS Cycling Championship in June, and participated in other regional and international competitions including the Commonwealth Games.

Locally there were the usual fitness rides and competitive events, while the union was the beneficiary of an Olympic Solidarity course.

FOOTBALL

Vincy Heat’s advancement to the finals of the Digicel Caribbean Cup to be held in January 2007, was the highlight of football’s achievement during the year. In addition this country enjoyed an 85th position in Fédération Internationale de Football Association’s (FIFA) October rankings. Striker Shandell Samuel goes into the finals as the leading goal score with nine goals.

He scored a five-goal blitz against St Lucia and followed up with braces against Bermuda and the Bahamas. But their staccato performance did little to help the “Game of the People”. Samuel lost his semi professional contract with North East Stars in Trinidad and Tobago owing to his off the field conduct. Vincy Heat also won the Independence Cup Invitational held here in November.

Whilst the flagship team is among the final eight, the Under-20 failed to get past the second round of the Caribbean Football Union (CFU) qualifiers; the Under-21 also failed to progress to the final of the Central American and Caribbean (CAC) Games in Cartagena Colombia in July.

Although with an improved outing, the women’s team also was stopped in the first round of the qualification exercise.

The Under-17 returned from Trinidad and Tobago pointless in the CFU/CONCACAF qualifiers.

It was a similar performance by the administrators as they failed to take a grip on the local scene as footballers took liberty in flaunting the rules.

President of the St Vincent and the Grenadines Football Federation (SVGFF) St Claire Leacock intensified his call for the authorities to find a home for football.

While this country grappled with its problems, the Caribbean was in solidarity with Trinidad and Tobago’s Soca Warriors at FIFA World Cup in Germany. The Warriors did not make it past the first round, but earned an honourable 0-0 tie with Sweden but lost to England 0-2, and Paraguay 0-2.

Trinidad and Tobago were the smallest nation to play in the world cup which dates back to 1930.

MOTOR SPORTS

Fast becoming a top event motor sports – both automobile and motorcycling – had a fair share of success. The annual PPG independence Bike Fest Motor Cross injected life in a sport that is catching on.

While the Automobile Association had its regular events at the Diamond Dirt Track, drivers Ali Clouden and Steve Ollivierre enhanced their reputation on the Caribbean circuit with some impressive performances.

NETBALL

Again, netball endured a year of frustration both administratively and on the courts. The lone high point was the recapture of the OECS Under-23 title. Down the ladder, SVG placed fifth in the Under-16 Caribbean Netball Association championship, with the senior team failing to advance from the International Federation of Netball Associations (IFNA) qualifiers to next year’s World Tournament. The senior team to the Commonwealth Games performed below expectations mitigated by off the court occurrences.

The local club tournament had its fair share of problems including ill discipline among players and spectators alike.

RUGBY

St Vincent and the Grenadines competed in almost every regional rugby event. Recardo Dallaway and Alexia Glasgow’s reputations surged as they were selected on West Indies teams. The level of organisation of the Rugby Association is one worthy of emulation as that body during the last 12 months ensured that its activities were brought to the public’s attention.

SQUASH

The St Vincent and the Grenadines Squash Association was one of the more active sporting organizations in 2006. This country was involved in several regional competitions at all age levels and hosted the OECS tournament.

National player and coach James Bentick added the Continental Squash Diploma, to his Level One and Two English certification. Bentick is also the OECS head coach. He and Shane Slater were the more active players during the year.

SWIMMING

Honourable mention must be accorded to the nation’s swimming teams for their perseverance. In the absence of any facility of note, the sport maintains a constant high level of participation. St Vincent and the Grenadines successfully competed in the OECS Swim Championships. Teran Matthews emerged as this country’s top swimmer at the Sagicor sponsored event held at the Rodney Heights Aquatic Center in St Lucia.

The experienced Matthews bagged five medals. She took gold in the 50-metre backstroke. Matthews took silver in the 50-metre and 100-metre breaststroke and the 50-metre freestyle. Her other medal was achieved in 100-metre freestyle attaining a bronze.

St Vincent and the Grenadines’ other medals came from another experienced swimmer Steve Wallace. He placed third in the Men 18 over 100-metre breaststroke as well as the 100-metre freestyle and the 50-metre breaststroke.

TENNIS

As usual, tennis kept its high standards with the staging of several junior competitions, invitationals, and nationals.

During the year, St Vincent and the Grenadines won the bid to host the International Tennis Federation (ITF) Under-18 championships next October. In addition, a level one tennis course held mainly for teachers formed part of the thrust to take the sport to the grassroots. The association also partnered with Digicel to launch an islandwide programme, and introduced the sport to the physically- and mentally- challenged persons.

Under-14 player Fabrice George was the beneficiary of a tennis course in Florida in August, while Kirk Da Silva, Lerissa Morris, Andre Prince and Corey Huggins continued their tennis programmes at educational institutions in the USA.

TABLE TENNIS

The year 2006 was a bitter-sweet year for table tennis. Undoubtedly table tennis has made strides in the last 12 months, but was black-eyed by the fallout between President Sean Stanley and Secretary Julian Sutherland which is headed for the law courts. On the positive side, two Under-13 players attended a high yield training in Santo Domingo, and five participated in the first Under-14 Cadet competition in early December in Trinidad and Tobago. The association was the recipient of five new table tennis boards from the International Table Tennis Federation.

In addition, seven more level one coaches were added bringing the total to 10. There were several championships hosted by private sector firms and schools in addition to the Jim Maloney Invitational, Independence competitions and the national table tennis championships. Stanley was elected to the regional technical body and was the number three ranked player among the over 35’s.

The fraternity lost Roland James aka Selah. James was one of the top junior players during the mid 1990’s, but was inactive for sometime because of ill health.

VOLLEYBALL

Two courses targeting teachers and Under-20 players formed the core of the Volleyball Association in 2006. Otherwise, it was a dormant year for volleyball, which is meticulously chartering a course of recovery. A series of whistle posts have been made to rural communities to re ignite participation in the once vibrant activity.

UNUSUAL FEATS

Earl “Ole “George Daniel completed seven days of walking without sleep in Jamaica. Charles Findlay and his 12 year old son Damien Fernandez paddled their kayak to Bequia and back to raise funds for the St. Benedict Children’s Home at Georgetown.

During 2006 karate, dominoes and draughts had their activities, but had little impact on the national sporting calendar.

With 2007 on our doorsteps and the high anticipation of a successful Cricket World Cup, footballers, cricketers and athletes will enjoy improved facilities at the Arnos Vale, Sion Hill and Stubbs playing fields.

The year of mediocrity is behind us, expectations are rife for improved achievements in the New Year, but this can be only attained with focused energy from our sportsmen, sportswomen and administrators.

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