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.
The ring was initially located at the building that was once the Ambassador’s Club in Edinboro. The initial response was stunning. Many people came forward to assist in the various aspects of the sport and the venue soon became a hive of activity.The ring was later moved to the building that once housed the Emmanuel High School Kingstown in Edinboro as a result of the sale of the first venue. The response of participants continued to be good.The SVGABA suffered from the fact that it was always under pressure to vacate the premises because the owners had other uses for it.
When the National Sports Council organised the initial National Sports Festival for the Independence celebrations the SVGABA took the ring to the Arnos Vale Sports Complex. During the Festival the ring was set up inside Arnos Vale #1 just in front of the Michael Findlay Pavilion. The activities of the Association proved to be the highlight of the Festival with some exciting and humorous boxing.
The ring never left Arnos Vale.
It was supposed to have been stored at Arnos Vale since the SVGABA did not have anywhere to take it.
The truth is that it was never really stored. The Netball fraternity used parts of the ring as a platform for the dignitaries during this country’s hosting of the Caribbean Netball Tournament in 1994.
While at Arnos Vale parts of the ring ended up being fully exposed to the elements.
In what may well have been a series of errors the ring remained at Arnos Vale unprotected for the most part and was only recently moved on the initiative of the new administration. However, as expected, some parts are now missing from the ring.
The new Executive Committee appears more resourceful than hitherto and efforts are being made to ensure that whatever is missing is adequately replaced.