Sportsview by Neil Kumar
THIS is the first quarter of the year and National Sports Associations/Federations and particularly the Ministry of Culture, Youth and Sport/National Sports Commission are awarding the sporting fraternity for their successful performance during the year 2009.
The well established and eminent panel that was set up by the Ministry of Culture, Youth and Sport/National Sports Commission is certainly doing an excellent job.
The thorough preparation, organisng and detailed process for nomination, secret balloting and the impressive Presentation Ceremony must be commended.
The 2009 National Sports Awards Ceremony was most significant with President Bharrat Jagdeo delivering the feature address. Dr Jagdeo’s frankness and in-depth knowledge along with his sincere concerns about the development of sports in Guyana was indeed one of the highlights of his most interesting speech.
Guyana can today shout to the sky that we have a Cricket Stadium that is among the best in the world. Further, Guyanese can count our available cricket fields and a reasonable count will reveal that we have more than four times as many as any other Caribbean country. Yet, because of the rifts among our cricket administrators the level of our cricketers is far below expectations.
There is too much infighting. Too many persons want only to occupy positions on Boards. However, they are unable and/or unwilling to give any leadership to the clubs or sub-associations.
Now that the president Chetram Singh is not enjoying the best of health and is out of the country, the undermining infectious syndrome is reaching an epidemic level. Today, it is imperative that all those persons who are in cricket administration in clubs, sub-associations and the cricket board, work in unity for the development of our young cricketers and cricket in general.
It was indeed heartening to see the pretty Jamaican Grace Jackson delivering the feature address at the Guyana Olympic Association Awards Ceremony at the Georgetown Club. Her mere presence in the country was a morale-booster. However, it was her down-to-earth revelation that was significant.
All the years of my life I have been hearing that Guyana will never excel in athletics because we do not have a synthetic athletic track. However, my grandfather reminded me about the champion distance runners such as Clem Fields, Moses Dwarka and Harry Prowell. They all dominated Caribbean distance athletics in the 1950s – 1960s.
Straight from the mouth of the Sports Development Director at the University of West Indies Mona Campus in Jamaica, Grace Jackson said, “Although we had an all-weather track we were doing well long before. We had one track in the whole island and most of our development work is down on grass.”
Grace Jackson stunned the gathering at Eve Leary when she told the athletes that former World’s fastest man, Asafa Powell and World and Olympic 100m, and 200m Champion Usain Bolt, trained for most part on tracks similar or more inferior to our tracks in Guyana.
As the former Olympic silver medallist was sitting on the bleachers at the Police Sports Club Ground at Eve Leary, she went on to say, “Our UWI track is more like a square, and that’s where Usain Bolt trains. Where Asafa trains has a lot of dirt and stuff and they have been working on it and it now has a bit of grass, but all of this that you have here, wonderful.” “This is a fantastic track.”
Jackson said that Jamaica’s World Champions are a product of a structured athletics in the school system, regular competitions, and an embracing environment towards the sport. Jackson alluded to the fact that a Track is needed for athletes to intensify preparations during competition season. She said that Bold and Powell continue to train on grass for most of their training because it reduces the possibility of them sustaining injury.
The former Olympians and present-day Sport Administrator said: ‘Don’t use not having a track here for not doing what you are supposed to, because when you get it you won’t even know what to do with it.”
Over the years many administrators, coaches and sportsmen/sportswomen had pointed to the lack of better sports facilities as the main reason for Guyana’s failure to produce International talent. However, this fallacy and myth was decently and ably exposed.
It cannot be denied that under the astute leadership of His Excellency Dr Bharrat Jagdeo Guyanese are benefiting from better and recognised world-class facilities. The potential and God-given talent of our young sportsmen and sportswomen will have to be carefully harnessed and nurtured so that they can excel internationally.
There are far too many cries when we do not perform well overseas. The blame game must be replaced with well structured training programmes and developmental plans.
President Jagdeo’s openness and serious pronouncements at the National Sports Award Ceremony, along with Minister Frank Anthony’s aggressive approach to the development of sport, seem to be certainly propelling our sports administrators to do better. Clearly we are witnessing genuine efforts by some National Associations/Federations and individuals to get involved in the development of sports in this country.
Today, sport is recognised for all its social, morale and business values. While sports is a serious business, we must recognise the role of sport in bringing communities, villages and people in a country together for peace and harmony.
Our young people are our greatest asset and all our people must work together to develop stronger sports programmes in schools and in our communities. Further, it is imperative that we develop better clubs with a stronger club structure, thus giving us better sub-associations and stronger National Associations/Federations.
There was tremendous interest in our Sports Awards Activities. The many achievements along with our celebrities must motivate us to greater heights.