Keith Joseph

Olympism

by Keith Joseph

Kurt McLean’s international forays continue

There are times when we here in St Vincent and the Grenadines take people for granted and fail to recognise their concerted efforts at making this country proud by taking its name to ever higher levels of international recognition. Bodybuilding in St Vincent and the Grenadines has had a very long history. Like so many other sporting disciplines it has had its ebb and flows but has nonetheless remained in the forefront of Vincentian sport. Over the past few years there has been some measure of conflict within the fraternity and this has led to the splintering of the bodybuilding movement in St Vincent and the Grenadines. This has not however daunted the many persons who continue to devote themselves to the sport even though through different levels of representation.
Kurt McLean of Stubbs has been this country’s foremost bodybuilder over a number of years. His move to living in the United States of America has not in any way meant movement away from the sport that brought him to national recognition.

Boxing strides back

Boxing is once more seeking to etch itself into the sporting consciousness of the Vincentian populace after a brief break. Under new leadership the St Vincent and the Grenadines Amateur Boxing Association (SVGABA) has been working more systematically at reorganising itself and building a base from which it can safely engage the development path through to excellence. Not many people seem to recall that boxing has given this country its lone gold medal in our involvement in the Commonwealth Games.  At the 10th Commonwealth Games (1974) in Christchurch, New Zealand, Vincentian, Frankie Lucas, won gold in the Men’s Middleweight Division (75Kg). Julius Lupia of Zambia won the silver medal while Carl Speare (England) and Les Rackley (New Zealand) shared the bronze medal. This week’s column takes a look at the attempts at the SVGABA to reorganise itself and the difficulties confronting those at the forefront of the new efforts. Facilities
In 1997 the SVGABA received a ring from the French via Martinique. This was a much needed facility that the organisation had long since been after. While there were several attempts at reorganising the sport over time the absence of a ring meant that the interest level was difficult to maintain among the nation’s youths. The challenges were also too much for those who were keen on administrating the sport as well as those involved in coaching and officiating.

Our netball woes

 

Members of the national Under-16 netball team returned from Trinidad and Tobago on Saturday last literally licking their wounds. The national team was in Trinidad and Tobago to participate in the Caribbean Netball Association’s, CNA, Under-16 Tournament at the Jean Pierre Complex in Port-of-Spain. St Vincent and the Grenadines finished fifth in the Tournament, which had a total of eight participating countries.
Perhaps the most important sign of our need to revisit what we are doing with the sport is our defeat at the hands of Dominica, a country where facilities are significantly more limited than is the case here.
Another sign is the performance against Barbados when, in the final quarter, the national team was ahead by seven goals. The Bajans closed the gap and earned what for them was a very exciting draw.

Preparations
Prior to leaving for Trinidad and Tobago the young netballers were brought together to engage in a preparatory exercise that was intended to create a strong unit for the regional engagement.
The selection of the training squad was itself problematic given what appears to be a major fall-off in the quality of the players available for selection. This meant that before the team left for the regional competition the authorities here knew of the difficult task that confronted the players on the court, especially given the level at which Jamaica had taken the game.

Football again!

 

Federation barred from Victoria Park

The recent past has witnessed the ups and downs of football here in St Vincent and the Grenadines.
While there is plenty of blame enough to be spread all around this country and among the different organisations involved it is necessary to reflect on what is happening in the sport and suggest ways in which we should proceed.

Football – most popular sport
There is no doubt that here in St Vincent and the Grenadines like so many other Caribbean countries Football is easily the nation’s most popular sport.
There was perhaps a time when Cricket held that prestigious and enviable position. There was also a time when it seemed that Netball had risen to the status of being the nation’s most popular sport. Today, the nation’s most popular sport in Football.
What does it mean to be the most popular sport in a nation?
For us here it seems that it does not mean much.

NOC’s Grassroots Talent ID at work

Over the past several months the National Olympic Committee, NOC, has been engaged in a series of activities aimed at establishing its Grassroots Talent Identification Programme on a sound footing.
The sports involved in the NOC’s Programme are athletics, basketball, boxing, cycling, table tennis and tennis.
The mission of the NOC’s Programme as stated in its submission to Olympic Solidarity, the development arm of the International Olympic Committee, IOC, is, To establish a sound basis for and clearly identify the talented athletes in athletics, basketball, boxing, cycling, table tennis and tennis in St Vincent and the Grenadines.

Will the real West Indies please stand up?

West Indians across the world, many of whom stayed away from their weekly religious services, got yet another disappointment from the West Indies cricket team when the cricketers lost in a rather putrid manner to the world leaders, Australia, two Sundays ago.
Australia handed the West Indies team an embarrassing eight-wicket defeat in India, much to the disappointment of a massive Indian crowd considered partial to the West Indies.
The result of the finals of the ICC Champions Trophy on Sunday should come as no surprise since it is consistent with the outcome of the final of the Tri-Nations Series a few weeks ago.
One common denominator was that the West Indies team was involved in both finals.
A second common denominator was that the West Indies lost both.

CWC2007 gets dose of reality

The organisers of the Cricket World Cup in the Caribbean next year, CWC2007, have gradually been waking up to what can only be considered a dose of realism.
It seems fair to say that the CWC 2007 may well have been seeking to maintain high levels of optimism in order to encourage Caribbean people to come forward in the best possible way.
While in no way intending to throw cold water on the grandiose plans of the CWC2007 it is clear that many of the things being stated and hoped for would not be realised.

Financing
The CWC2007 is probably the first major sporting event of its kind ever hosted in the Caribbean which would have relied so heavily on the financing from the governments of the region. This comes at a time when all countries in the region, with the possible exception of Trinidad and Tobago and Barbados are cash-strapped.

The desire to Cheat pervades International Sport

International sports is today in the throes of crisis as individuals are being hauled before the sporting community with great frequency over charges of cheating of one form or other.
The fact that today’s international media sources are highly competitive and have access to the most modern technology leaves us capable of hearing and seeing the latest incidents of unsavory sporting conduct as they happen.

The Olympic Spirit
The Olympic Charter, the virtual Constitution of the International Olympic Committee, IOC, and the guiding document of the International Olympic Movement, contains among its guiding Principles the following:
“2. Olympism is a philosophy of life, exalting and combining in a balanced whole the qualities of body, will and mind. Blending sport with culture and education, Olympism seeks to create a way of life based on the joy found in effort, the educational value of good example and respect for universal fundamental ethical principles.

The game of football and Vincentian politics

Vincy Heat has just benefited from a significant upward movement on the FIFA Rankings to position # 85, the highest ever attained by any Vincentian football team.
Interestingly and perhaps sadly, before the national football team could bask in the glory of its latest improved ranking it has been given the boot from the Victoria Park, Kingstown.
The National Lotteries Authority, NLA, new custodians of the Victoria Park, has indicated that too much football is being played at the venue and hence the SVG Football Federation, SVGFF, can use it for competitions but not for practise purposes.

NOC in new developmental initiatives undertaken

The St Vincent and the Grenadines National Olympic Committee, NOC, has undertaken yet another initiative in respect of the development of sports in the multi-island State.
The NOC has secured funding for the implementation of a broad-based Talent Identification Programme involving athletics, basketball, boxing, cycling, table tennis and tennis.
The programme was launched officially at the Olympic House, headquarters of the NOC, a few weeks ago.
The approach is not new, since several national sports associations here have long since been involved in outreach programmes of one sort or another in the past.
Clearly, there have been problems with their organisation, coordination, funding and sustainability. This explains why the new initiative assumes such monumental importance.