The final of the Arnos Vale Football League competition attracted a mere handful of spectators. That tells the story of what has really happened to sport in St Vincent and the Grenadines in the year 2008 – a major loss of interest, declining participation, lowering of performance standards and a near total absence of support.
Lennox Adams, a former president of the Amateur Athletics Association (now Team Athletics St Vincent and the Grenadines – TASVG) and the founder of the National Olympic Committee, recently highlighted the decline in participation in sport as he addressed the annual Awards Ceremony of the St Vincent and the Grenadines Cricket Association. He expressed his concern given the importance of sport in one’s personal development. He is a living example of what is possible through involvement in sport.
In virtually every sport in St Vincent and the Grenadines there seems to be a lack of interest manifested in significantly reduced numbers involved in competitions. Of course this also means that the overall performances of the sportsmen and women have not been particularly good except in very rare circumstances. The recent Beijing Olympics revealed the major hurdles still confronting Vincentian sport.
The sporting event with the highest profile in which this country participated was the quadrennial Olympics in Beijing, China, 8 – 24 August 2008. Few may even bother to recall this country’s participation because of its short-lived nature and the poor performances delivered by our athletes.
At the conclusion of the Games several Vincentians lamented the nation’s weak performance and suggested that we stay away until we can be represented by athletes who can at least be competitive. The comments, though harsh, are valid. It remains a painful experience for one who loves sport to watch the world’s most prestigious event, the Olympic Games, express joy at the presence of one’s nation and witness weak performances by one’s representatives in the competition. It is easy to allow the pain to readily dull one’s senses to anything else and to suggest that we are simply not ready for that level and that the country is being embarrassed by being present.