Schools in the USA are interested in getting good results at their respective Conferences and at the NCAA and NJCAA competitions both Indoor and Outdoor. The coaches at these institutions are therefore not favourably disposed to preparing athletes for international competitions, sacrificing in the process, their own performances as they seek tenure.
Over the past several years St Vincent and the Grenadines has also had three athletes on scholarship at the High Performance Training Centre (HPTC) in Kingston, Jamaica. Two of them were located there for two years and one for a one-year stint. None of the athletes who attended the HPTC attained any of the established qualifying standards for any international competition while attending the institution. In each case there have been issues that seem to have impacted them negatively such that they failed to make the cut and could only themselves best explain why even with training in Jamaica, two of them under Usain Bolt’s coach, they have not been able to return to St Vincent and the Grenadines with improved performances in their respective events.
We had two athletes at schools in the USA who were relatively successful. One was successful at the Junior College level and even at the level of the North American, Central American and Caribbean (NACAC) Championships but not beyond that. The other was more successful in previous years than in this the year of the Olympic Games.
Two Vincentian athletes who reside abroad also attempted to qualify and were afforded the opportunity to participate in IAAF approved competitions.
When athletes are not successful at the level of the Olympic Games it is appropriate for critics to ask whether we should participate at all. We expect the same treatment meted out to our footballers and netballers to be heaped on the heads of the athletes who attend and participate in the World Championships of their respective sporting disciplines and the multi-sport Games at which St Vincent and the Grenadines is represented.
Why then do we continue to participate in international competitions, including multi-sport Games if the athletes are not successful?