SVG and the Beijing Olympics

The home-based athletes do not have the full training requirements. The continued absence of a synthetic track is a hindrance to progress among the majority of our athletes in athletics just as the absence of adequate training and competition facilities for Football, Basketball, Table Tennis, Volleyball, Boxing and Cycling all work against the improved performances of athletes in St Vincent and the Grenadines.
Had the National Lotteries Authority not been a political tool of convenience many sorting organisations would have had a significantly more advanced development programme for their athletes that would have included a slew of competitions that allow for the honing of the skills taught.
There is no national gymnasium for use by our athletes without significant costs to the individuals. National associations cannot afford the cost of adequately preparing athletes at home in many of the sporting disciplines practised.
Small wonder then that our swimmers struggle and go no farther on the medal table beyond the OECS.
Athletics has had the distinction of winning gold at the World University Student Games when Eswort Coombs left from the Essex Community College in the USA to compete in Fukuoka, Japan in 1995. Athletics secured the country’s first medal at the Pan Am Games since Maurice King’s weightlifting medal in Chicago in 1959, when Coombs won silver in Mar del Plata. The same athlete captured gold and this country’s first world ranking in athletics in 1995 at the Central American and Caribbean Athletics Championships (CAC) in Guatemala and one year later, became the most successful Vincentian athlete at the Olympics, gaining a semi final berth in the 400m at the Atlanta Centennial Olympics.
Kineke Alexander secured her first major international medal at the Central American and Caribbean Games in Cartagena, Colombia in 2006 and was a medallist along with Adonson Shallow at the Inaugural NACAC Open Championships in El Salvador in 2007.
Natasha Mayers and Kineke Alexander have won NCAA titles in the USA with Kineke holding the distinction of being the most ‘All American’ in the history of women’s athletics at the University of Iowa. These are achievements by athletes who have been overseas-based.
Bigna Samuel and Pamenos Ballantyne did have some success at the CAC level but have not been able to move beyond.