We all sat back and enjoyed 3 weeks of serious sports entertainment during the Summer Olympics 2012. The Summer Olympics 2012 was held in the United Kingdom. This activity brought together the World’s best athletes. They came from near and far. Some, from places that we had heard of for the first time; they were there to represent their country and make their people proud. The Caribbean Islands once again were also part of the highlights of these games as some of the World’s best runners originated from Jamaica, Grenada, Trinidad and Tobago, and the Bahamas – to name a few.
The number of athletes in some of the track events from these Caribbean Islands, were significant enough to comprise relay teams and win gold. Yes, these athletes were indeed remarkable and made their countries and the Caribbean in general proud. Today, we as the Caribbean should be proud to boast that we are more than Sun, Sea, Sand, and friendly people; we have displayed our talent at the highest levels.
Dominica was one of the proud participants at these games; however, sadly, we did not make it beyond the first round as our athletes were not as prepared as those of the other islands for this level of competition. We need to therefore ask ourselves a question. Are we serious about growing top athletes on the island who will one day enjoy the feel of winning and making their country proud, or are we just attending these World Class Games for token participation?
We need to take a serious look at the hurdles which we continue to erect consciously and unconsciously even today to ensure our failure as a nation in the area of sports and strategically remove them. We need to make physical education not just a token subject in our schools, but a valuable subject. This subject should not be an option, but a compulsory one throughout primary and secondary school. This way we can ensure that the basic skills are developed very early and that every student who passes through the gates of our educational institutions understands and appreciates the benefits that can be gotten from a well-constructed and implemented sport program. We need to ensure that all students and the citizens in general have access to facilities which will ensure their development in the sport of their choosing-recreationally or competitively. We need to ensure that there are more “Ossie Savarins” (DGS), “Fabians” (PSS)-trained physical education teachers at our schools and more trained athletic, football, basketball, volleyball, netball, etc., coaches to solidify the work put in by the trained physical education teachers.
The culture of sport has to be cultivated in the schools to ensure young people appreciate its benefits and continue to pursue it for whatever reasons after they have exited the gates of our schools. The sport governing bodies must be comprised of individuals who will place athletes and the development of the sport on the front burner. The public and private sector must see the need to and invest substantially in the development of athletes who show promise. Finally, the nation must firmly stand behind our athletes. If we all pull together to make sports a national product like it is in some of the neighbouring islands, there is no limit to what we can accomplish because we, as a people, are no less talented.
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