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HOOPS AND HURDLES FOR LIFE by Rae Samuel

posted 30 Jan 2013, 19:24 by Gerry Kangalee   [ updated 30 Jan 2013, 19:25 ]
Oh boy, here we go again. Another foreign expert is coming to Trinidad and Tobago to set up training centres to help with our track and field development. Reminds of a disco hit called "Do the hustle, Russell". 
 
How did this latest one come about? My well honed Trini cynicism and nightshade sense of humour tells me that Michael Johnson, the latest "foreign expert" in question, met Shaq O'Neil at a basketball game, maybe in an airport, and Shaq told him there is easy money to be made in Trinidad/Tobago. Just flash your championship medals and be prepared to lift up a Prime Minister! 
 
I have had direct experience of a similar situation with an English Olympian called Dalton Grant. He came to Trinidad and with the support of a then government Minister set up a training academy in Moruga. He was not teaching anything that had not been taught or was not being taught to the age group in track and field at that time. But he was 'foreign' and received corporate assistance. The one time I met him and spoke about working together, he listened patiently and then asked how much the sponsor of the programme I was working in was willing to put in his academy. 
 
He has left Trinidad and Tobago and Moruga. You see England/London won the bid to host 2012 Olympics so it became "Bye Moruga", "hello London". There were organising committees to staff etc.etc. The grass was definitely greener in London and I imagine the "pounds'' weighed more too. As far as I know the academy is no longer operative and I do visit Moruga often. 
 
Through all this hype our local and domesticated Cuban coaches, there is a younger version of Ismael Lopez who is daily being underutilised, continued to work quietly and successfully. Ask Keshorn Walcott. Ask Michelle Ahye. Ask Josanne Lucas. The U.S. universities are finishing schools. If they do not have the foundation when they leave here, they would not cope when they get out there. 

So it looks like there may be a new hustle in town. 'Hoops for life' may now become "Hurdles for life" with all the nauseating fulminations about 'fighting crime through sport" and the attendant propaganda. 
 
Maybe I should go under my bed, pull out my spikes and run as far and as fast as I can before I throw up on some innocent bystander.
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