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Windward Islands School Games not just about competition

Windward Islands School Games not just about competition

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An estimated EC$350,000 is expected to be injected into the Windward Islands School Games, which will be hosted by St Vincent and the Grenadines (SVG) this year.{{more}}

The games were officially launched in SVG on Tuesday, under the theme “Four teams…One dream”.

Chairperson of the Windward Islands School Games Local Organizing Committee Beverly Neptune observed that the theme is symbolic of the commitment to foster harmony between the four islands taking part: St Lucia, Grenada, Dominica and St Vincent.

“It also reaffirms our commitment to the holistic development of our students, our young people and our children in the region,” Neptune, who is also deputy chief education officer, noted.

Additionally, Neptune stated that she is confident that SVG will host an excellent tournament.

She also named various well known Vincentian athletes such as retired NBA basketballer Adonal Foyle and cricketer Nixon McLean, who as students, competed in the Windward Islands Games.

“There is a lot that our students can gain from participating in these games,” the chairperson declared.

Keith Joseph, deputy chairperson explained several aspects of the preparations that have been taking place to host the games in St Vincent.

“We have identified the games village as the West St George Secondary School,” Joseph announced.

“That has been visited…the entire floor plans have been developed and allocations have already been made”.

Furthermore, the deputy chairperson added that changes will take place to better facilitate the games in SVG.

“The National Sports Council here has been working well with us in terms of the identification of venues and analysis of those venues in the way of which they have to be upgraded,” Joseph stated.

“We have taken on board the various concerns that have been raised in the past and you will realize that for the first time, we are trying as much as possible to decentralize the particular sports during the course of this year”.

Windward communities, such as Georgetown and Park Hill, and Leeward communities, as far as Keartons are prospective locations where some games may be held.

“We are giving some consideration to one or two games in the Grenadines,” he said.

WINLOT and the National Lotteries Authority (NLA) have been identified as potential sponsors for the games.

Murray Bullock, chairman of WINLOT and NLA, noted that these organizations have played an active role in the Windward Islands School Games over the years and they have in the past raised certain concerns.

“What WINLOT is interested in is an expansion of the game,” Bullock said. “Not a diminution of our contribution to the games, but we are looking at getting more bang for the buck and being able to achieve some level of self-sustainability”.

Bullock said that because of the rising costs of the games and the lack of improvement to facilities, WINLOT opted not to sponsor the games last year. However, because of recent developments, he declared that he will, without hesitation, advise the board to sponsor the 2013 edition of the games.

“I am happy to say however, that today I have seen very real demonstration of the commitment of the technical personnel from the various Windward Islands who are involved in the organizing…that they are willing to examine and think about ways and means of improving the games,” he said.

Representatives from the participating countries were also present at the launch.

Victor Reid, one of the St Lucian representatives, noted that the games are a launching pad and an opportunity to develop every athlete who will participate.

“We have potential which is comparative to Jamaica and any other country in the world,” he said. “We don’t want the games to be competitive only, but to offer a form of development and a form of opportunity for our athletes…so that they can launch themselves into CARIFTA and the Olympics and the world championships that exist”.

Other representatives included Bruce Swan of Grenada, Trevor Shillingford of Dominica and Clitus Jules of St Lucia.

The line-up for the sporting games includes athletics, basketball for males and females, netball, football and volleyball for both males and females.

Each contingent will be made up of 62 athletes and eight officials.

The Windward Islands School Games are scheduled for July 26 to August 4.(BK)

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