Sportlight, Sports

Give Jack And Jane Their Jacket And Tie

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Image of Anthony De Beauville
By Anthony De Beauville

AS we roll midway into January I would never have imagined that my first column for this year would have been on an issue that is of a major concern to me as a Journalist, as well as the Ministry of Youth Development of Sports.

Sportlight was taken aback on Tuesday morning at a press conference at the Ministry of Youth Development and Sports, when the Director of Youth Development and Sports Jim Xavier was asked a question regarding the poor response from the various national sports associations in terms of their nominees submitted for this year sports awards. According to the director, he was disappointed with the response by a number of NSF’s that failed to nominate individuals for the awards scheduled for February 13.

In 2014 some of the NSF’s that failed to submit nominees received funding from the Ministry of Youth Development and Sports for their respective programmes. The Director said he could not understand why these same associations continued to short-change their athletes at such a major event under the Ministry’s banner.

Asked whether the forms presented to the NSF’s were a complicated one, Xavier said, “To be quite frank it’s not a matter of literacy. They wouldn’t pass with that excuse; I think it’s a matter of commitment, passion and dedication towards ensuring that they reward the young people for their hard work. Prior to presenting the forms to the NSF’s the Ministry held a meeting to evaluate and ensure the NSF’s understood the forms but only eight NSF’s showed up”.

Some of these NSF’s have individuals in their line-ups with 20 – 30 years experience and it’s a clear indication they cling onto power because they want to be president for life. From my vantage point as someone who has been there in administration, these individuals are simply squeezing the throat of progress in their respective sport and retarding their members in the process.

Based on information available to Sportlight, the St. Lucia Basketball Association had a successful national tournament, alongside the commercial league in 2014, but had no nominations for the awards. Cycling, too had a series of races combined with community events in 2014, sponsored by the St. Lucia National Lottery and nominated only two males. What’s wrong with the female aspect of the sport?

It was certainly one of the better years for some of the island’s junior golfers participating in their monthly tournament at the Cap Estate Golf Course. Question: has Chris Taylor’s departure from the island created a void and no one is capable of going the extra mile to do the paper work. No nominee there either.

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Judo has been in the back seat, but was still able to show some slate with one individual. Guess what? I am still trying to find out when and where that tournament was held, at least they tried, compared to others that received funding from government.

What has gone wrong with the executive of the St.Lucia Martial Arts Association? Sportlight must compliment SKIF under the watchful eyes of Ezra Jn Baptiste, Victor Dudley and Oliver Lawrence as in 2014 it held a number of examinations and graduations for its members. SKIF also had an in house award ceremony in December, but with a non functioning central executive no one was nominated for the grand finale. These hard working individuals need to be recognized at the national level too.

Life Saving, this is one of the most important NSF’s on island, I have seen the various members work tirelessly. Should their hard work go unnoticed Mr. President?

St. Lucia Moto X Cluborganises what can best be described as one of the most popular sports that attracts large crowds at any given venue. They entertain too from start to finish with some daring moves. Imagine not one junior rider could have made the cut.

Rugby is considered the biggest surprise in the pack and can best be described as one of the emerging sports on island in 2014. They had nominees in 2013, but this time around the leadership failed to nominate someone. What a shame.

Shooting has grown by leaps and bounds despite the embarrassment at the Commonwealth Games. They were still able to nominate one individual. They’re trying.

As usual Darts and Dominoes have not made a shift in coming off the blocks. In fact they have a series of false starts to their name so one cannot expect a nominee. That’s fair enough.

There is nothing coming out from the Squash Association, despite OECS and the St. Lucia Open championships. Wow!!!

From my vantage point the time has come for those in charge of the various NSF’s to realise the sacrifice and the hard work by some of Fair Helen’s young men and women. You have accepted the position to serve on the executive and by all indication your aim, objectives and goal is to move and develop the athlete and the sports. Has your dream gone through the window? Jack and Jane deserve the right to wear that jacket with a colourful tie too. They deserve it; the national sports awards belongs to them. It cannot be about you Sir / Madam.

Interestingly, one week ago the President of the SLOC Fortuna Belrose made the comment at the SLOC annual luncheon that she has requested the assistance of the International Olympic Committee to assist its 20 NSF’s in the area of governance. Belrose made it abundantly clear, that this area needs to be developed and developed quickly. At the time she was speaking directly to the Presidents and Secretaries present at the SLOC annual luncheon. Not to me for sure, but I simply hope my prayers will be answered finally in that area.

St. Lucia will play host to the Commonwealth Games in 2017. The six sports to be competed are Athletics, Beach Volleyball, Twenty 20 Cricket, Netball, Swimming and Tennis. As far as I am aware cycling is the seventh; and Table Tennis, will be an alternate sport if any of the selected seven sports are unable to participate.

I believe (1) that the Ministry of Youth Development and Sports before giving financial assistance to any of they should ensure that they are in good standing with their international governing body, (2) at the end of November the NSF’s must present to the Ministry a complete calendar of events for the coming year; (3) they should have an updated version of their constitution, and (4) submit an audited statement to the Ministry and their international governing body.

To all the NSF’s, its time to wake up and make some serious strides, work as a team and not as individuals to make it better for the athletes come 2016. The more the merrier and everybody will be happy. Stop taking the athletes for granted.

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