TTUTA joins with the rest of the country in saluting our athletes’ performance at the recently concluded 2017 World Athletics Championships in London.
In particular, praise must be showered upon our 400M men’s relay team for ensuring that for yet another time our flag can be flown on the world stage with pride and joy.
Our athletes deserve every bit of accolade and praise for their achievements, for we all know these could only have come through dedication, sacrifice, perseverance and sweat.
These would be the values instilled in those athletes from a tender age when they were identified by their teachers at their respective schools.
During the celebrations it would be nice to spare a thought for those teachers who labour with our young talent from primary through secondary school, giving them the support and encouragement to seek out a career in sport.
While sport is supposed to be an integral part of the school curriculum, the resources required to commit to its pursuit is lacking. Schools and teachers are forced to painstakingly raise funds in many instances to prepare athletes to participate in zonal and national games.
Teachers work well beyond school hours to ensure that students give of their best at these meets. In most instances facilities to prepare students are lacking or at best woefully inadequate. Yet despite these challenges, teachers go well beyond the call of duty to give their charges an opportunity to shine and achieve glory for self and country.
Sadly, many of our promising talent, having been unearthed by our teachers, will not be able to realise their maximum potential because of their socioeconomic backgrounds. This is indeed sad. Despite all the talk by the national community and the magnificent sporting facilities our country possesses, the process of capturing and nurturing the young raw talent leaves a lot to be desired.
Very often the onus is on parents to ensure that the young boy or girl pursues a future in sport. This is a very expensive proposition. Many fall by the wayside simply because of lack of funding for training and gears.
Every two years, TTUTA and the Caribbean Union of Teachers host the only under-15 age group track and field championship in the region. This event, organised by teachers in the region, very often provides the first opportunity for the stars of the future to engage in international competition.
Unfortunately, funding for teams to take part in these championships has and continues to be an exercise in perseverance and determination by teachers. Corporate sponsorship is almost impossible to come by.
Many of the students who took part in these championships over the years went on to win world and Olympic glory, despite the unwillingness of the corporate community to invest in their early development.
So while the corporate community jumps aboard the celebration bandwagon of our 400M men’s relay team’s golden victory, it is an opportune time for us to reflect as a society on how our young talent is identified and nurtured to the point where they can shine on the global stage for us all to feel that sense of pride.
Just think about how many more victories like these we could be celebrating as a society if only we were to engage in a calculated programme of talent identification and development through a coordinated effort between the State and the corporate sector.
Sport not only provides a platform for citizens to attain international glory, it has the potential to reduce our troubling crime rates by giving many young people a sense of hope.