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LEAKING FROM THE ROOF by Rae Samuel

posted 4 Aug 2014, 22:10 by Gerry Kangalee   [ updated 4 Aug 2014, 22:11 ]
On the week end the Commonwealth Games ended, one of our most respected sports commentators said to me during a social function. "So we pick up some silvers and bronze again." On the same weekend, NWU's Facebook page got a comment from Jamaica on a photo of Bhouwagjie Nkrumie running at the just concluded, miserably staged CUT Games in Trinidad.

Bhouwagjie Nkrumie
Bhouwagjie is their Under eleven Boys 100m champion on whom they have their eyes already. We in Trinbago are still relying on the 2008 brigade to a large extent. Check out the 4x100m men’s' line up and compare it to what happened in the 200m men’s, final where a whole new team gave Jamaica "fus, secon’ and t'ird' as Sparrow says in "King of the Beasts." It should be noted that Jamaica participated successfully in field events such as the discus, winning gold, pole vault, in diving, in triple jump.

No, no, no! We were underachieving long before "Life sport'. While full credit is due to the individual performers who battle tremendous odds, we must recognise we have become what New Zealand represents in cricket. Holding our own with a good performance on a given day, but do not look for consistency.

Do we have the same ingredients for success? Ask Keshorn or Jehue or Michelle Ahye or Cleopatra Borrel or Machel Cedenio! Do we have young people interested in sports? This writer has received four requests from Sangre Grande, Fanny Village, Mayaro and Tacarigua, for assistance in introducing or developing programmes in basketball and track and field. These requests have come through the writer’s association with an outreach programme run by a state enterprise.

Do we have the financial resources? Ask Mr Daniel, the educator. Do we have the technical resources? There are dozens of trained young people of both genders whom I have encountered who want to share their training in sports management, sports psychology, administration, resource development and international relations in sport. There are many coaches and physical education teachers operating on shoe string budgets in schools and communities. Centres for higher learning? The UWI administration has resources which are on offer as well as UTT.

So where do we falter? My observation of many federations locally is that that they do not seem to understand the role of a sporting federation in a country's development. I am not speaking of that arrant nonsense about sports fighting crime. That premise is patently absurd. What are a modern sporting federation's mandate and its vision? What are the goals? This writer knows that since 2000 the IAAF set out to make track and field the #1 participatory sport in schools throughout the world'.

This was the era when basketball, football, swimming, lawn tennis were re-inventing themselves through their superstars and winning the athletes’ audiences and the sponsorship dollars. We see the results today in the 19 year old elite athletes from Kenya, the Caribbean and USA

What structures are in place to support these programmes? What kind of training do these administrators receive? Why are so many of them, to our eternal detriment, former athletes turned administrators who, as in Trinidad and Tobago, imagine running a federation is the same as carrying out a training programme? We have the classic example of football under Jack Warner's leadership. Good individual players but when it came to the national team we always floundered and under achieved on the bigger stage. Look at his legacy which haunts football today

For me this is the starting point. The Vietnamese say the house leaks from the roof and in the region we say fish rots from the head. A good parent brings the family together. Should not a good "parent body'' do the same?
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