Vacation sport programmes

This year has seen a significant increase in the number of sport programmes being hosted during the vacation to occupy many of the students and teachers who are at home. This is a most welcome development and one that requires the highest commendation.
The vacation runs from July to August and there is much time for interest to wane. Sport is an interesting and exciting way to spend one’s vacation since it facilitates discipline while allowing for the learning and honing of skills specific to the particular activity in which one is involved.
The National Olympic Committee (NOC), several sporting bodies and the Ministry of Sport are involved in eths conduct of sport programmes of one sort or another during the current vacation period.
The NOC has been playing a leading role in the development of programmes aimed at raining coaches as well as athletes in the various sports practised in St Vincent and the Grenadines. This year is no different.
Table Tennis
The National Olympic Committee has provided the St Vincent and the Grenadines Table Tennis Association with a 10-day technical curse for coaches. This programme got going on Tuesday 3 August at the Church of Christ of Latter Day Saints building in Kingstown Park.
The International Table Tennis Federation (ITTF) recommended to Olympic Solidarity, eminent international Table Tennis coach, Mr Ahmed Dawlatly, of Egypt, as the course conductor provided to the NOC for the technical course.
Coach Dawlatly is not new to St Vincent and the Grenadines. In 2005 he was again recommended to the NOC for the conduct of an extensive four-month programme that sought to develop a national sport structure for Table Tennis here. On that occasion he travelled around the country, worked with coaches and athletes and gleaned a thorough understanding of the state of the sport in St Vincent and the Grenadines at the time. On this occasion therefore he is well prepared and eager to continue where he left off.
In his welcome speech at the Press Conference at Olympic House on Tuesday last the coach simply stated his pleasure at having been provided with the opportunity to be back in St Vincent and the Grenadines to conduct a Level # 1 Coaches Certification Course. If successful the coaches would then be eligible for the Level # 2 programme at a later stage.
Attendance at all of the 10 days of coaches’ training is compulsory for attaining the Level # 1 certificate.
While here coach Dawlatly will work with the junior athletes.
At a meeting with the NOC on Tuesday last the coach was also asked to engage in some analysis of the effectiveness of the Grassroots Talent Identification Programme in which the Association is involved and recommend where necessary ways in which it can be improved and better serve the development of the sport across St Vincent and the Grenadines.
Effective 16 August 2010, Team Athletics St Vincent and the Grenadines (TASVG) will benefit from a Technical Course from the NOC for coaches to attain the International Association of Athletics Federation’s (IAAF) Level # 2 certificate. The course conductors will be our own Gideon Labban and Lenford Levy.
Labban is currently in Trinidad and Tobago conducting an IAAF Level # 2 Coaches Certification Course along with Trinidad and Tobago’s Ian Carter.
Lenford Levy is currently the Director of the IAAF’s Regional Development Centre (RDC) based in San Juan, Puerto Rico. He holds the responsibility for planning and programming the coaches’ development work of the IAAF in the North American, Central American and Caribbean (NACAC) area.
In 2009 Rawlson Morgan and Rosmund Griffith jointly conducted an IAAF Level # 1 Coaches Certification Course at Arnos Vale at which some 15 individuals, most of them teachers, were successful. Several of the graduates of that programme would be involve din the Level # 2 programme scheduled for later this month. Both Morgan and Griffith were involved in an advanced Instructor’s Programme for the Level #1 Course held in Puerto Rico in July of this year.
The Level # 2 will feature the fundamentals of each of the disciplines in athletics – sprints, hurdles and relays in the running area; the throws and the horizontal and vertical jumps. Participants will also be introduced to the philosophy of coaching, the skills of coaching, anatomy and physiology as well as the growth and development of athletes.
During the course which, like the Table Tennis programme, features theory and practical sessions, a number of young athletes would be required to be subjects with which the coaches can work to show their understanding of what is being taught.
The athletics programme is a 14-day course that requires full attendance.
Like several of the other sports practised in St Vincent and the Grenadines athletics has benefitted from several coaching courses and the scheduled course is but another that allows those interested in developing their coaching skills to be appropriately qualified. The opportunities are there for career development in the field of coaching.
Art for Sport
The NOC has not limited its vacation programme to active physical sport. It has also focused attention on the cultural aspects of sport. This vacation will witness the hosting of three separate Art for Sport workshops all being held at the St Joseph’s Convent Kingstown.
The first workshop would be held during the period 6 – 7 August and will be for children aged 8 – 12 years. The second takes place one week later, 13 – 14 August and will cater for children aged 13 – 16 years. The third workshop, 20 – 21 August will be for teachers only.
The idea to have such a programme comes from the National Olympic Academy, the educational arm of the NOC. The Education and Culture Commission of the NOC is responsible for the immediate administration of the programme.
Renowned Caribbean artist, Collette Jones-Chin, would be the course conductor. The focus would be to introduce the participants to the fundamentals of art with specific emphasis on using art on a range of sport themes.
The NOA has long since adopted as its primary mission the establishment of a culture of sport in St Vincent and the Grenadines and this programme is an essential component of that.
The International Olympic Committee (IOC) often holds sport art competitions for interested persons around the world. St Vincent and the Grenadines has not been participating in these competitions and the programme is also intended to change that situation.
The NOC will itself hold local sport art competitions on an annual basis once the initial course is completed and would also organise annual workshops to enhance the capabilities of these interested in moving forward.
The St Vincent and the Grenadines Cycling Union will be holding its own training programme in the current vacation period. Here again the intention is to introduce interested persons to the sport of cycling.
The programme runs from 3 – 14 August and is being conducted by the President of the Cycling Union, Mr Trevor Bailey.
The training programme began on Tuesday 3 August at Arnos Vale. Sessions run daily from 9.00 – 11.00am. The Arnos Vale segment would conclude on 7 August while the programme shifts to Mesopotamia for the period 9 – 14 August. In both places the programme is open to all ages and persons using all varieties of bicycles.
Football, the nation’s most popular sport, has a flurry of activities during the vacation. Ian Sardine, who seems to reside at the Grammar School Playing Field, has daily sessions from 9.00am – 12 noon. At the Sharpe Playing Field Tyrone ‘Toba’ Prince and Curtis ‘Fame’ Joseph conduct sessions on Tuesday and Thursdays in the afternoon beginning at 4.00pm and on Saturday mornings, 9.00am – 12 noon.
At the Keartons Playing Field Orande Ash conduct sessions from 9.00am – 12 noon while at the Victoria Park Kendal John, Alison John and Baswell Welcome are all working with youngsters on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays.
Meldon James works with kids in Paget Farm, Bequia while Chester Morgan and Wayde Jackson do the honours at Layou.
Ministry of Sport
The Division of Physical Education and Sport in the Ministry of Sport has a rather ambitious programme featuring Basketball, Cricket, Football, Netball and Table Tennis. The programme takes coaches across St Vincent and the Grenadines introducing kids of all ages to the aforementioned disciplines.
The staff at the Division have begun the programme effective Tuesday last and it will run through to 26 August utilising the services of a number of keen and enthusiastic coaches
Sport is considered integral to the development of the individual. It instils discipline and a range of positive values in those who practice it.
Sport now offers great career opportunities in a wide variety of areas and increasingly Vincentians are seizing many of the opportunities provided to become proficient sport professionals.
Sports scholarships still remain a viable option for many an athlete and there are opportunities for athletes to become professional as we are seeing in the case of many from across the Caribbean.
There is little doubt that the decision to host several sporting activities of an educational nature during the long school vacation augurs well for the development of sport in St Vincent and the Grenadines. This means that the school programmes can begin in earnest at the very start of the new school year and we should see enhanced performance sin all of the major areas where activities were held during the vacation.
Congratulations are in order for all those who have taken the bold step to engage our children and youth in the vacation.