But the story cannot end there. One must necessarily determine the critical causal factors that led to the poor performances. It is not enough either for the association represented to claim that the International Olympic Committee or the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) demanded a presence.
The fact is that there are several Olympic sports being practised in St Vincent and the Grenadines and all of them can claim a right to be represented. They must nonetheless so establish themselves and provide the requisite programmes that would allow for better participation at the highest level.
Associations must engage in talent identification exercises and follow through with improved training that caters to the athletes’ every need.
For far too long we have grown accustomed to wanting athletes to perform without access to resources. Many do not have proper facilities on which to train. Others lack access to proper nutrition. Still others are unable to access higher level competitions and yet others are readily distracted the moment they appear to be capable of going on to better things.
Track and Field athletes are often considered a privileged bunch in so far as participation in the Olympics are concerned. Regardless of qualifying standards, each NOC is allowed one male and one female athlete and an equivalent number of officials. This is as a result of the IAAF’s stance on participation at its own World Championships and the Games. Unfortunately for St Vincent and the Grenadines only Kineke made the standards set and Jared Lewis was selected as the male athlete to represent us at the Games. The result is now history.
Facilities remain scarce and promises remain the order of the day.
Clearly there is much work to be done and one hopes that we do not see a repeat of Beijing any time soon.
Of all the sporting disciplines that constitute the Aquatics programme at the Olympics, we only practice swimming. While the FINA allows one male and one female regardless of standard, just as is the case with Athletics, we do not have anything that comes close to an Olympic swimming pool. We use the sea for training and this is not in any way adequate.
The future of swimming lies in accessing facilities that makes sense and engaging in high level competition on a regular basis. Until then we are dead in the water and we would not attract many to the sport for competition purposes.