TOCO Secondary School's track and field coach Anna- Lee Walcott was elated after her school recently the best overall school title in the TT Secondary Schools Track and Field Association Schools Relay Festival on Thursday at the Larry Gomes Stadium, Arima.
Walcott, the aunt of Olympic 2012 javelin champion Keshorn Walcott, said she remains concerned over the decline of interest shown for sports in schools.
She said, “It feels good to be winners again but to an extent we would have liked to have won more of the individual age group events. If you look at QRC and Bishop Anstey, they won a lot of age group titles so I would have liked to accomplish that, but I guess in the future that is one of our goals.”
The Caribbean Studies and Social Studies teacher said it is a false stereotype that Toco only produces athletes suited for the longer distance races.
She said, “We are not only known for long distance; overall our children are all-rounded but the problem that we are experiencing is the lack of training. The students that participated on Thursday did well but they are not in training, so you could imagine if they were training what we would have done.”
She added, “A lot of them are naturally talented but they don’t see the benefits of sports as yet, even though they have examples in front of them like Keshorn and other athletes that went to the school.”
The former athletic scholarship winner addressed a major issue faced currently in physical education.
“We used to get our children from the primary schools coming in with fundamentals skills but now we have a lot of them lacking that. Therefore, children are now starting developmental stage in form one because they didn’t have that exposure before,” she said.
Walcott said sports should be introduced much earlier to kindle the passion in the children.
She said, “Sports are not really pushed in primary schools anymore, the focus is solely on SEA and academics. Earlier in the season for the zonal competition, I had to persuade some of the students to participate, and afterwards when they realised they are not so bad they wanted to start training the next day.
“We need to get them curious about the various sporting activities available. In Toco, we get a lot of assistance from community and teachers but we need to motivate the children so they can see what sports can offer them.”
Looking forward to the rest of the track and field season, she said, “We are hoping for the best because we didn’t qualify for as much events as before, but those who have qualified will put their best foot forward and make us proud.”