The past week proved to be a very good one for sport in St Vincent and the Grenadines and reflects the immense potential of our athletes. The challenge may well be for the necessary work to be undertaken to realise the full potential resident here.
Windwards U-19 Cricket
For those at home the Windward Islands U-19 Cricket tournament as the main sporting attraction. It was a treat to have St Vincent and the Grenadines pull through in the end to cop the title once again.
Victory did not come easily for the Vincentian team since the competition was quite keenly contested.
Commendations are therefore in order for the Cricket fraternity here for overcoming the numerous challenges to attain victory in a hard-fought tournament.
The Vincentian team to the Caribbean Swimming Championships in the Bahamas comprised athletes Shne Joachim, Shane Cadogan, Alex Joachim and Cruz Halbich.
Consistent with the growth and development of the sport of swimming in this country over the past few years the results were better than anticipated.
Shne Joachim, competing in the new age category, produced good form to win gold in the 50m breaststroke. This is the first gold medal by a Vincentian athlete at this level of competition. The historic significance is not lost on the local sporting fraternity.
Shne Joachim then achieved a third place finish in the longer 100m breaststroke.
Young Alex Joachim proved to be a remarkably budding prospect. He achieved a second place in the 200m breaststroke and also in the 200m butterfly. He also achieved two third placings in the 50m and 100m breaststroke events respectively.
Shane Cadogan earned a third place in the final of the 20m breaststroke.
The Vincentian team performed very well given the fact that these Championships featured some of the best swimmers in the entire Caribbean. The team’s management felt quite proud that there were some significant personal bests established in the competition, a fact that augurs well for the future of these athletes.
Team Athletics St Vincent and the Grenadines gave good account at the Association of National Olympic Committees of the OECS (ANOCES) Athletics Championships held in Tortola, BVI, 2 – 3 July.
The national representative team came from behind to win the final track of the Championships, the 4 x 400m relay, to capture its second gold medal at the competition. To his credit, Brandon Valentine-Parris, produced a tremendous final leg in the relay to bring the team from almost certain defeat to capture gold.
DeLohnni Nicol-Samuel, son of former distance running champion, Dane Samuel, had earlier won the 5000m (15:08.62) in grand style, lapping all but the second placed finisher. He returned the following day to finish second in the 1500m (3:55.09)
Kineke Alexander lost in a photofinish in the 400m and placed third in the 200m.
Zita Vincent placed second in both the 3000m (11:04.86) and 1500m (5:06.42). In the latter event Tamara Woodley was third (5:28.20)
Jumonne Exeter placed second in the Triple Jump (15.59m) with Richard Crick in fourth (15.29m).
Brandon Valentine-Parris finished third in the 400m (46.77).
In the final tally, St Vincent and the Grenadines placed third amongst the women, fourth amongst the men and third overall, based on the accumulated points.
St Vincent & the Grenadines was represented at the annual CARICOM 10K on the morning of the official start of the CARICOM Heads of Government Summit. This year the event was held in Guyana on 3 July.
Linda McDowall showed that she is improving fast as she won in a time of 37:57.00. Guyana’s, Euleen Jossiah-Tanner (39:46.00) and Andrea Foster (40:37.00) finished second and third respectively.
The achievements of our athletes in top class competition must be commended. The facilities here are certainly not of the best but the associations are working with coaches to ensure that athletes have the opportunities to do their best in the circumstances.
Administrators must therefore work with the National S ports Council to systematically upgrade the existing facilities to guarantee athletes a higher level of preparation for the coming year and beyond.
There is no shortage of athletic potential in St Vincent and the Grenadines. But we can get nowhere if the stakeholders do not work together.
Much of the selfishness amongst coaches must end and athletes must never become embroiled in the conflict between coaches in their respective sports.
Next year the Commonwealth Youth Games (CYG) would be held in the Bahamas in July. The Games are for athletes under the age of 18 years.
In the case of Swimming, all of the top athletes are under 18. In the case of athletics of the seven or so females that made the team to the OECS this year, only Kineke Alexander was above 18 years.
The CYG features a limited number of athletes per country (quota system) and therefore the top athletes in the sports on the CYG programmes practised in St Vincent and the Grenadines would be selected.
Already some national sports associations have begun their summer camps in the hope of getting their best athletes on a systematic programme towards making the team to the Bahamas. These have to be closely monitored and evaluated if we are to get the best possible results.
The best athletes would have to be involved in appropriate competitions for the early part of 2017 so that by the time of the CYG they would be in the best shape to reap success.