THE EDITOR: It is very troubling whenever I see our sporting personalities having to plead for funding to prepare for a particular sporting event. And we wonder why we haven’t had the success in particular disciplines we should have.
We are a talented nation with loads of naturally gifted sportsmen and sportswomen, and if we were serious about maximising the full potential of our athletes, we should be keeping pace with Jamaica in terms of sporting excellence.
I am by no means suggesting we haven’t achieved a lot in sport because we have. It’s just that countries with a better overall plan for sport in general are reaping the rewards.
We currently have a semi-stable infrastructure in place for cricket and we have been seen success at the youth level and in the shorter formats of the game by our senior teams. We have also had successes in football and to a lesser extent athletics and swimming.
However, our sporting heroes have often had to bend over backwards to get funding in a timely manner. Therefore, if we are indeed serious about achieving sporting excellence, the Government, with assistance from the private sector, needs to ensure that our athletes are by and large free from financial headaches and would not have to go cap in hand at the 11th hour seeking funds.
Wearing the red, white and black is an honour for our athletes. I have no doubt they give 100 per cent every time. I personally think that most of them could take it to another level if they did not have the black cloud of financial uncertainty overhead. This needs to change if we truly want our athletes to blaze a path of excellence that our future generations can emulate.
Our sporting administrators are a major stumbling block for the proper development of our athletes. Bureaucracy will always exist in sport administrations but ideally we need to find a way for them to maximise their effectiveness and thus help our athletes in the long run. And even though it’s true the Government needs to invest in sports, checks and balances must be put in place to ensure the administrators of each sport put the assigned funds to their intended use to avoid the begging for money at the last minute.
Corporate Trinidad has done its part for our successful team sports and our individual athletes. However, more can always be done. Our sportsmen and sportswomen need to be supported even in their darkest hours so they would not have to go knocking at government’s door when funds run scarce.
It’s all well and good to jump on the hype train whenever we are successful and support our stars to the max, but I salute and applaud those in corporate Trinidad who stand by our athletes even at their darkest hours with little or no fanfare.
A symbiotic relationship needs to be struck between those who play sports for our country and those who invest in it. I urge the Government and corporate Trinidad to continue to give our athletes ample support and whatever they need. They in turn will give 200 per cent on the field, plus they will be great ambassadors for the Government and their sponsors and hopefully foster a new generation of sporting personalities who will put the country at the top with the best.
NAVIN T RAMKISSOON via e-mail