THE Caribbean Association of National Olympic Committees (CANOC) has thrown its support behind Cricket West Indies’ (CWI) efforts to have T20 cricket featured at the 2028 Summer Games in Los Angeles, USA.
Speaking at the 19th CANOC general assembly in St Lucia on Saturday, president Brian Lewis said the regional body is also backing a bid by CWI and USA Cricket to possibly host the ICC T20 World Cup in North America and the Caribbean.
Both initiatives are new to the CANOC agenda. However, the association of NOCs believes they need to increase their involvement in fresh ideas to aid the growth and development of sportsmen and women in the region.
During his presentation on Saturday, Lewis said CANOC has been working with several Caribbean and global organisations to raise awareness and bring new sporting incentives for athletes.
“One of these things was CWI reaching out to CANOC about support and endorsement of their bid to host the T20 Cricket World Cup with USA Cricket, and we did that. We believe that T20 can add significant value to the Olympic programme.
“From a CANOC perspective, we’re backing CWI’s efforts to get T20 cricket, male and female, to get on the LA 2028 programme and to host the World Cup.
“Those are the types of initiatives that CANOC is engaging in because at the end of the day, CANOC cannot replicate what the NOCs are really doing in their relationship with the IOC and Panam Sports,” Lewis said.
He added that these new involvements are part of CANOC’s broader remit to have collaborations and conversations with entities such as Caricom, World Jujitsu Federation, E-sports, Teqball, UWI Open Campus, Special Olympics and CWI.
Lewis and his CANOC executive think T20 can add significant value to the Olympic programme and it should be endorsed.
“We have to look at the bigger picture and the larger global issues. CANOC has to add its voice to these issues. We cannot be shy again, because we’re an umbrella body, and need to impact youth and sport,” he said.
According to Lewis, CWI CEO Johnny Grave reached out to the CANOC executive seeking support in his and USA Cricket’s bid to the International Cricket Council and International Olympic Committee.
Lewis, who also serves as TT Olympic Committee president, said they “were more than happy to throw our support and endorse the effort”.
He continued, “These issues impact sport, youth and young people in the Caribbean. We fully support it and we will support WI cricket in whatever efforts they are required to do by the ICC in terms of the push to get T20 cricket on the LA 2028 programme.”
Lewis and his executive also believe there is a unique opportunity for Caribbean athletes to become more involved in sports like surfing, skateboarding and 3x3 basketball.
Similarly, CANOC continues to push for the region’s inaugural Caribbean Games which is scheduled to be hosted in Guadeloupe from June 29 to July 3, 2022.
Such an event, Lewis said, will incorporate the region’s rich mixture of cultures including its English, Spanish, Dutch and French-speaking nations coming together to compete in a high-intensity meet.
Although the 2022 regional sporting calendar is already congested, the executive supports the initiative.
Lewis said, “I know there has been a lot of conversation about the calendar becoming packed but we think it is important from the aspect of the Caribbean Games itself.
“This event embraces the historical and cultural aspects of the Caribbean. (These days) your event has to be a little innovative and out of the box.
“Having a Caribbean Games is an important event to have because it allows us to build an asset that benefits the region. I see this embracing and developing beach and urban sports and sports that are embraced by the youth and young people of the Caribbean.”