2008 – The year of the Olympics

Table Tennis
Our Table Tennis athletes have difficulty topping the sport at the OECS level even though they are competitive there. At the Caribbean level the athletes do require much more dedicated training and regular competition if they are to be competitive. Consideration of making it to the Olympics seems some time well into the future.
All is not lost and the sport is in its developmental stages in St Vincent and the Grenadines yet again. Some may suggest that it has not yet regained the kind of skills and competitiveness seen in years past but work is in progress.

In Tennis we have a crop of young players who have come through the ranks of ITF Junior competitions with good impressions. The movement to the stage of the world-class athletes who are in the top ranking as required by the international parent body for the Olympics is another story. There is no shortage of love for the game of Tennis. We do need, however, to realise that there are severe
limitations to our capacity to take our players to another level once they stay at home. The professional circuit is where the action is and we have to move to that stage or we are doomed.

The Boxing Association participated in its first Olympic qualifying competition earlier this year when a team attended the Tournament in Trinidad and Tobago. Unfortunately no one made it beyond the first round of the competition.
Our boxers are just getting back into serious organisation and it will take time. This is a sport that could afford some athletes a better chance than most for a medal at the Olympics but it requires greater dedication to training and diet as well as access to top level coaching and frequent competition. It was therefore unfortunate that this year we lost some medals that we won in the previous sub regional competition.

Cycling is another sport that is on the Olympic Games programme and which is practised here. For decades our cyclists have been denied the use of Arnos Vale for competitions in the Track Cycling format largely because of a gross misunderstanding by the authorities at the NSC in respect of the impact the sport would have on the surface. This has negatively impacted the sport. One can only hope that science would speak in defence of the sport in so far as use of grass surfaces are concerned. Actually, the Southern Games in Trinidad and Tobago, earlier this year, held cycling competitions on the grass. The grass continues to survive in the same manner that is has done since the 1960s when the Games were started.
The local Cycling Union has had to contend therefore with training cyclists for road racing, a great challenge in a society where motorists do not always display courtesy to sportspeople using the road even under police protection far less for training. The result is that the sport has suffered.