Revisiting the National Sports Policy Part I

At the recently conducted national sports leadership seminar organised by the National Olympic Committee participants, drawn mostly from national sports associations, called for the full implementation of the national sports policy.
Participants felt that the government needs to show a greater level of commitment to the sports development process beyond mere lip service and one way of doing this was the full implementation of the national sports policy.
It therefore seems necessary to spend some time over the next few issues of this Column to reflect on the National Sports Policy so that all involved in sport in St Vincent and the Grenadines can glean a better understanding of what it purports to do.

Physical education and sport are twin disciplines that are seen as particularly important to the broader national development process of any country anywhere in the world.
Physical education focuses on getting people, from childhood to learn basic movements and coordination. This is critical to the later introduction of sport to the individual. Sport is perceived as the application of the coordinated movements learnt in physical education to a particular discipline. Sport allows for the more deliberate application of the basic skills learnt in physical education to the technical requirements of football or athletics or swimming, for example.
Physical education and sport facilitate general fitness of individuals in society and aid in combating preventable illnesses in society; they are deemed critical to the health of the population of any society. There is a whole range of preventable diseases that are avoided and/or significantly minimized by regular exercise. These are lifestyle problems – hypertension, diabetes, heart problems.
Sport aids in the building of personalities through discipline, respect for others, caring, sharing, friendship and camaraderie.
Sport contributes to the national economy through sports tourism but also through the remuneration of significant finances to family and friends at home.
The hosting of sport events facilitates the generation of important legacies that ultimately redound to the benefit of the society in several important ways.
Finally, sport is often recognized as an important vehicle for community development, engendering national pride and facilitating excellence as a way of life.
These are all important reasons why the National Olympic Committee undertook the initiative to bring stakeholders together to fashion the national sports policy.