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2006 sports in retrospect

2006 sports in retrospect

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There was not much for Vincentians to shout about during 2006, as the year was one lacking sporting excellence.

Except for Kineke Alexander’s bronze medal at the Central America and Caribbean senior games and Vincy Heat’s historic win over Jamaica in the Digicel Football Cup, little came our way.

SEARCHLIGHT SPORTS recaptures some of the highs and lows of the various sporting disciplines in 2006.{{more}}

ATHLETICS

Alexander, based in the USA, is this country’s brightest prospect on the international athletics scene, placed third in her pet event – the 400-metre. She also established a new national mark in the event and is the current National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) indoor champion over that distance.

Her achievements matched the continuing strides by the local athletics body at grass roots development through its Right On Track programme and have exerted efforts towards talent identification. Several athletes were able to secure scholarships overseas and technical director Gideon Labban continued to enhance his status as one of the best in the region.

Long distance athlete Pamenos Ballantyne did not maintain his plethora of triumphs enjoyed in the last decade and relinquished some of his titles. He was embroiled in battle with Team Athletics SVG over his non-selection for the Commonwealth Games in Australia.

The issue became a political one with Minister of Sports suggesting that it was “political”.

The region celebrated the declaration of Jamaican Asafa Powell as the world’s fastest man after American Justin Gatlin, the joint holder, was banned by the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) for failing a drug test.

The local athletics fraternity mourned the loss of former athlete Errol King.

BASKETBALL

Saving the face of basketball during 2006 were the drafting of Sophia Young to the Women’s National Basketball Association (WNBA) and the elevation of Sabrina Mitchell to a top post of President of the Permanent Committee on Finance and Budget of International Basketball Federation (FIBA) America Central, the continental basketball set up.

These followed the successful hosting of the Adonal Foyle Summer camp, and the staging of the Bequia and the Grenadines tournaments.

The year passed without another male nor female central zone championship which are the spotlight of basketball on the mainland.

Instead, the executive of the Basketball Federation was more concerned with internal problems as four of its members elected in January subsequently resigned.

In addition, ill discipline among this country’s players reigned at the CARICOM championships in Jamaica in June.

BODYBUILDING

Bodybuilding meandered during 2006 as the fight for supremacy between the St Vincent and the Grenadines Amateur Bodybuilding Powerlifting and Fitness Federation and the SVG Weightlifting Natural Bodybuilding Association continued.

Efford Rogers of the SVG Weightlifting Natural Bodybuilding Association won the 2006 Natural mania Super Pro Bodybuilding contest staged in New York.

The St Vincent and the Grenadines Amateur Bodybuilding Powerlifting and Fitness held its annual national competition which was poorly attended. From this event a team was sent to the Central American and Caribbean Games championships in Jamaica in September, but little was reported of the team’s performance.

BOXING

On the comeback trail, Boxing in 2006 focused on rekindling interest and talent identification.

Participation in regional competitions was limited to two outings mainly for exposure and experience. Boxing, like other disciplines had no home and makeshift practice venues were the order of the day for the administrators.

CRICKET

Cricket was the biggest disappointment in 2006. This country failed to lift any of the Windwards titles, a rarity. SVG did not impact on the shortened Under-19 and ended at the bottom of the Under-15 competition in early December. The seniors were beaten by Dominica in Grenada in the eventual abandoned tournament also in early December.

They also failed to reach the semi-final of the inaugural lucrative Stanford 20/20 after having a good start against Grenada. Hampered by off the field issues over distribution of prize monies, SVG was booted out at that phase of the tournament.

But there were some individual accomplishments. Talented Under-19 batsmen Lauren Francois and Donwell Hector both scored a century in the regional tournament representing the Windwards. On the downside, Deighton Butler did not find favour with the West Indies selectors failing to make any of the overseas tours for One Day tournaments.

It took the women to regain the regional league title in St Lucia in June. The local competitions were successfully completed with Police taking both the Premier and First Division titles.

Efforts in the last 12 months were maximised at the preparations of the venues for warm up matches for Cricket World Cup 2007 as the Local Organising Committee got high marks for its input thus far.

The sport lost one of its best brains Neil Williams. At the time of his death, the former Saints, St Vincent and the Grenadines, Middlesex and England fast bowler was the driving force behind the youth cricket academy.

Meanwhile, the West Indies flattered to deceive, reaching the finals of both the DFL Cup in Malaysia and the ICC Champions Trophy, only to lose out to Australia on both occasions.

A comfortable 4-1 series win in the One Day Internationals (ODI’s) versus India in the Caribbean was followed by a 0-1 loss in the Tests.This preceded by a 5-0 win in ODI over Zimbabwe.

On their journey to the sub-continent to face Pakistan, the West Indies went under 0-2 in the Tests and 1-3 in the ODI’s. On their tour to New Zealand, the Windies lost 1-4 in ODI and 0-2 inthe Test series.

Brian Lara became the leading run scorer in Tests and reached the milestone of 10 000 runs in ODI.

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