To all looking on at the Beijing Olympics over the past two weeks it must be clear that St Vincent and the Grenadines did very poorly in terms of the performance of the two national representative athletes – Jared Lewis and Kineke Alexander. The performances can only be described as decidedly poor.
All national associations with a chance of qualifying for the Olympic Games were afforded the opportunity to secure places on the national representative team. Table Tennis, with one athlete and one manager/coach, participated in the qualifying competition in Brazil. Taekwondo competed in Colombia and Boxing participated in the Olympic Qualification Tournament in Trinidad and Tobago. Swimming would have attended the FINA World Championships. Cycling attended the Central American and Caribbean Games and so, too, did Tennis. The latter was also represented at a Tournament in El Salvador, which afforded their athletes another opportunity to make the cut, as it were, in terms of gaining a place on the team. The national Basketball team did not get past the Caricom Tournament.
Of course, Athletics allowed for athletes to make the requisite standards at any competition approved by the International Federation (IF) as was also the case with swimming.
The two Vincentians athletes were deemed the best athletes at the time of the completion of the selection process. In a previous column the process was analysed and there is no need for much of that to be repeated here. Suffice it to say nonetheless that it was also recognised at the time that the athletes needed to seize every opportunity to enhance their preparation so that at the very least they could give reasonable account of themselves by achieving personal bests.
No one could explain or accept the very poor performances of the two athletes at the Olympics. In the 100m Lewis never looked the part except for the first 30m when he appeared competitive. The race required another 70m at a competitive level and that did not materialise. He ended the race well behind the field.
For her part, Kineke did seem competitive in her 400m event for the most part. Coming into the home straight it seemed possible that she would have been easily into the semi finals since they needed the first three in each Heat and only three fastest losers. Since the Heat was a slow one finishing anything outside the first three would have meant the end of her participation in the event and the Games. Kineke finished fourth.