Keith Joseph

Olympism

by Keith Joseph

None for Football!

This country’s Prime Minister and Minister of Finance, Dr Gonsalves, recently engaged in a rather interesting and perhaps most disturbing comment in the House of Assembly while the Parliamentarians were discussing the Value Added Tax–VAT–scheduled to be introduced here in May 2007.
Dr Gonsalves’ comments came during the Parliamentary discussions in the House on Monday 2nd October 2006 while Senator StClaire Leacock was addressing the matter of the VAT.
His interjection seemed to suggest that the Prime Minister and Minister of Finance was saying, “Ah wouldn’t give any money for football then, since ah goin’ contain mehself”. Later on he stated, “None for football”.
This is actually what transpired in what should otherwise be considered the hallowed halls of this country’s Parliament.

Ole George and his walking challenges

On the evening of Tuesday, 26th September 2006, Earl ‘Ole George’ Daniel achieved yet another milestone in his quest for international acclaim as one of the stoutest walkers on the planet. He completed seven-days of walking around the Emancipation Park in Kingston, Jamaica.
George’s latest achievement comes in the aftermath of his six-day performance here in St Vincent and the Grenadines.
The earlier performance took Daniel and his walking partner, Joel Butcher, through the many communities in St Vincent where they received a tremendous outpouring of Vincentian hospitality, generosity and support.

Crisis in Vincentian sports

During the past week the Vincentian sporting public trekked to the Victoria Park in their numbers welcoming the return of football to the arena.
It has been some time since football was played at the Victoria Park and given the problems surrounding its return the enthusiastic crowds on hand for the matches played would suggest that football does indeed remain as 'the game of the people.'
On Friday last, Grenada and hosts, St Vincent and the Grenadines, played to a rather tame draw while the national league competition was the main attraction on Saturday evening.

Wrong Decision
The Government of the day made a wrong decision to place the responsibility for the Victoria Park in the hands of the National Lotteries Authority, NLA.

Cricket challenges loom large

The state of West Indies Cricket is indeed critical at this juncture in the sport’s history. Over the past several years we have been witnessing the ongoing demise of the game in the region and the changes in leadership have done little to impact the situation in any positive way that would suggest progress.
With the Cricket World Cup looming on the horizon it seems that the West Indies Cricket Board has lost control in so many aspects of the game that it is difficult for us to present a face to the world that can even remotely be considered acceptable.
Indeed even as the WICB tries to lick its lips in anticipation of financial windfalls emanating from the Cricket World Cup, we are being made even more aware of the true indebtedness of the WICB.
It is not just that ‘the ship is sinking’. It may well be that the captain is not even aware of the extent to which the ship has already gone under.

WICB Leadership
WICB President, Ken Gordon, has apparently already been seen by many involved in the game and many of its enthusiasts as a major disappointment.
Gordon has been beleaguered almost from the start of his tenure as head of the WICB and may well have done more to ‘shoot himself in the foot’ than meets the eye.

Under 23 Netball – some interesting lessons

St Vincent and the Grenadines not only hosted the 16th Eastern Caribbean Central Bank, ECCB, Under 23 Netball Tournament but won the finals in what emerged as a true cliff-hanger of a sporting event.
The victory was sweet and the patrons of Keartons in particular delighted in the way in which it was achieved.
Congratulations are therefore in order for the Vincentian team for regaining the Under 23 OECS netball title and for having done so in the wash of entertaining excitement.

The Tournament
The St Vincent and the Grenadines Netball Association hosted the ECCB OECS Under 23 Netball Championships just after the national senior team failed in its bid to qualify for the World Netball Tournament scheduled for next year.
The extensive work being done at Arnos Vale precluded any opportunity for the Tournament to be hosted there and for some time the organisers anguished over a venue.
Initial reactions to the location of the tournament in Keartons were not particularly enthusiastic and many saw it as a rather interesting and most challenging experiment.
As it turned out the experiment proved to be a resounding success thanks in large measure to the people of Barrouallie and its environs who gave outstanding support at every stage.

West Indies cricket in post Stanford 20/20

The world of sport is certainly changing and in the Caribbean we are still young in our recognition of these changes and their overall impact.
The recent introduction of the Stanford 20/20 Tournament among the cricketing nations in the Caribbean is one change to the game as we have come to know it in the region and highlights the extent to which we are unaccustomed to engaging in critical analyses of the impact of change.
“Stanford brings colour to cricket”; “A new era underway in the Caribbean”; “Roberts calls for expansion of 20/20 across Caribbean”; “Stanford success highlights WICB's woes”; “Lloyd resigns from Stanford 20/20 board”; “Going forth... with a big fat wallet”; “West Indies seek to clear the air on Stanford confusion”.
The foregoing constitutes the headlined stories that were carried on the internationally recognised website, ‘Cricinfo’, telling the rather mixed tale of awe, concern and confusion that have greeted the Stanford 20/20 cricket tournament. Some of the stories went to excesses that suggest the writers were too impressed to contain themselves. Others may well have inadvertently caused readers to be very hesitant about the way forward for West Indies Cricket.
The Barbados Nation carried a story on 23rd June 2006 that began thus:
“It's the coming of the evolution of cricket - the Stanford 20/20 tournament to be played at the Stanford Cricket Ground in Antigua from July 11 to August 13”.

Reviewing our sport options – the case of athletics

Kineke’s success
There will undoubtedly be some persons, including track and field athletes, who are disposed to decrying the ‘fuss’ being made over Kineke Alexander’s bronze medal performance in the 400m at the Central American and Caribbean, CAC, Games in Cartagena, Colombia, on Tuesday, 25th July 2006, at the Track and Field Pedro Heredia Stadium, Cartagena, Colombia.
To some persons, the criticism may be justified. After all, Alexander’s performance at the Games was by no means her best. It was also not a new national record. She already holds the national record for the 400m event.
The foregoing statements are quite accurate.
Others may suggest that Alexander did not win the gold medal. She only captured a bronze medal, indicating that at best she was only third in the event.
The justification for the ‘fuss’ however comes from the fact that Alexander has broken through in yet another important arena in respect of the achievements of Vincentians in the world of sport.
Like Eswort Coombs before her, Alexander has broken new ground. She will forever be the first Vincentian athlete, male or female, to win a medal at the oldest multisport Games in the world after the Olympic Games, the CAC Games.
Importantly, Alexander’s achievement came as the CAC Games observed its 80th Anniversary, a significant milestone.

Beijing prepares for Olympics 2008

If we believe that winning the bid to host a major international event is the beginning of the end of the process, then think again.
Beijing, China, the city that won the bid to host the Summer Olympic Games of 2008, is a perfect example that the work only really begins when the bid has been won.
Everywhere in Beijing, which hosted the International Association of Athletics Federation’s, IAAF’s, World Junior Championships, 15–20 August 2006, there is evidence of the tremendous work that is involved in the preparation for the Games.
In many respects the realisation of what is happening in Beijing stands in stark contrast to what is happening in the Caribbean currently in preparation for the 2007 Cricket World Cup.
While in the Caribbean, with less than one-year to go before the Cup starts, the panic button is being harshly depressed each day and everywhere, in Beijing, the International Olympic committee, IOC, had to call on the Chinese authorities two-years-ago to slow down the pace of construction of all infrastructure needed for the Games in 2008.
The Chinese have spared no effort in ensuring that everything must be in place with much time to spare before the Games officially open on 8th August 2008.

SVG at multi sport Games in 2006

During 2006 St Vincent and the Grenadines participated in two major multisport Games - the Commonwealth Games and the Central American and Caribbean (CAC) Games.
The results of the athletes from St Vincent and the Grenadines have not been the most flattering and deserve some more critical analysis at this juncture.

The Commonwealth Games
St Vincent and the Grenadines first participated in the Commonwealth Games in 1958 when they were called the Empire Games and were held in Cardiff, Wales. Since then this country has participated in the quadrennial Games in 1966 (Kingston, Jamaica), 1978 (Edmonton, Canada), 1994 (Victoria BC, Canada), 1998 (Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia), 2002 (Manchester, England) and 2006 (Melbourne, Australia).

The drug mockery of contemporary international sports

First there was the shocking news of 2006 Tour de France winner, Floyd Landis, of the USA, testing positive for performance enhancing drugs. Then, before the dust had even settled, the news broke that US sprinter and co-world record holder for the 100m, Justin Gatlin, had tested positive for testosterone.
These two latest scandals have come against the backdrop of ongoing claims in the US that the power-hitting Barry Bonds is a tainted athlete and should not receive support for the records that continue to tumble around his bat.
Once more the world of sport is being forced to come to terms with the seemingly rapid growth n the use of performance enhancing drugs by athletes who have gained the admiration of the billions of enthusiastic supporters of sport across the world.

The Landis case
In the case of Landis, cycling enthusiasts became curious after the following achievement during the closing stages of the race:
“Freaking amazing! Floyd rode himself into third place after a super-human breakaway in today’s Stage 17. He rode all the competition off his wheel to win the stage by almost five-and-a-half minutes. Pereiro put up a strong fight to keep the yellow jersey, and Sastre is in a close second place. But with only 30 seconds to make up on the leader, Floyd is poised for Satuday’s time trial.”
To many the performance on the particular day simply seemed too good to believe. The performance was astounding and apparently left many very concerned.