AROUND this time of year the normal thing is for one to give, share and make resolutions, but at the same time it’s not often that one makes a sport type gift list for sports.
From my vantage point the year 2014 has been a mixed one for St.Lucia’s sportsmen and sportswomen both at home and overseas and one must thank those who made podium calls in their respective events and for those who failed. I say rise and dust off the ashes, dig deep and look forward to 2015.
Well, if you didn’t know, the following national sports federation are all part of the St. Lucia’s Olympic Committee: Athletics, Basketball, Bodybuilding, Boxing, Cycling, Football, Judo, Karate, Life Saving, Sailing, Shooting, Squash, Swimming, Table Tennis, Tennis, Taekwondo, Volleyball, Rugby. The time has come to wake up and be counted, stop the day dreaming.
Interestingly my gift wish is totally different from yours and I simply hope my request to Santa will be a reality despite the economic crunch.
First on my list Athletics: I hope the colourful calendar of events put out by the Athletics Association for 2015 will come to a reality and at some point hopefully, St. Jude Hospital at its present location will vacate the dilapidated George Odlum Stadium. We all know the circumstances, but it’s long overdue. The SLAA in early January must sit with the two ministries involved Sports / Health to find out how much longer, for the returning of the facility to the sportsmen and sportswomen.
Basketball: will have to find the necessary funding and include at least two national tournaments, one each for Under – 15 / 19 male and female to complement the existing senior National Championships and Commercial League if they are to make any dent in the sport. Its also time to revive the Windward Islands Tournament.
Bodybuilding: recently elected a new executive and have put a calendar of events for 2015. (1) Sportlight hopes that they will be able to fulfill their obligation and most importantly regain the confidence of their affiliates and commence a rebuilding process for the sport amongst the youth in St. Lucia. (2) The time has come to honour some of the men and women, including administrators who over the years performed outstandingly to keep the sport afloat.
Cycling: (1) Will the SLCA maintain the momentum they have presently with the community series sponsored by St. Lucia National Lotteries? (2) The SLCA more than ever will have to make a commitment and pay more attention to the youth developmental aspect that is presently showing growth in the various communities.(3) What are the plans to keep that cadre of cyclists together? and (4) The SLCA apart from the community series, will have to include two junior and two elite championships for 2015. The results for 2014 speak for itself.
Boxing: Not a bad year for the SLABA, I believe our representatives at the various championships could have done better. (1) SLABA David Christopher and his crew will have to go deep into a membership drive to rekindle the interest they once had. (2) SLABA will have to work closely with the Ministries of Education, Youth Development and Sports, the Principals Association and other stakeholders towards a secondary school championship for 2016 and (3) Will the SLABA work closely with corporate St. Lucia including the St. Lucia Olympic Committee and seek financial assistance to ensure the present gym at Vigie gets a much needed renovation and facelift, including shower and change rooms for both sexes.
Sometimes Sportlight wonders whether the sport of Judo is alive in St. Lucia; as far I am aware they will have to come to the fore in 2015 and show slate. (1) The likes of Paul Richards must step up to the plate and ensure Judo gets its rightful place on St. Lucia sports calendar in the new year, (2) Likewise Taekwondo and Squash. One needs to see more competitions organized by these national sports federations. What sense does it make to see that you have Olympic status and nothing tangible is done on a grand scale to develop the sport and take it to a new level. (3) Membership drive should be a priority in the New Year.
Netball: With Liota Charlemagne – Mason at the helm along with her energetic team to date they have shown some urgency to champion the cause for the sport and its affiliates. With 2017 Commonwealth Youth Games already staring at us in the face as host country, the year 2015 will be a testing one, but at the same time it is just right to get the Under – 10 / 14 players on court re your preparation. It’s interesting to know that the SLNNA has called up a squad in training for Under -16 trials. Hats off to your organization. Finance is key and I do hope Corporate St. Lucia will answer your request for assistance when the time comes for sponsorship to host – (1) the respective tournaments, (2) the developmental aspect for the sport throughout the island (3) the training of officials and (4) an awards ceremony to recognize outstanding players.
Tennis: Certainly not a bad year at all, quite a few tournaments. (1) The SLTA will have to do more to ensure that the $4million facility generates the much needed funds to keep it going. (2) The SLTA will have to sit with the Ministry of Youth Development and Sports and the Ministry of Education and look closely at the manner in which the school tournament is being run presently. (2) Time to get rid of all the rumbling at the National Tennis Centre and work in the interest of the players.
Swimming: Congratulations are in order for yet another win at the OECS championship, but winning OECS is certainly not all. (1) the SLASA will certainly have to look at the French Islands for stiffer competition and (2) what is the latest development on the proposed new National Aquatic Centre and (3) how much longer will one have to wait for the sod turning?
Table Tennis: One would believe that TT would have gotten close to achieving their goals for 2014 , but there is still have quite a lot to do. (1) Get an active Public Relations Officer on board, (2) take the sport to the all 10 districts, (3) its time to purchase a few Topspin robotic table tennis partner that sends topspin balls for you to hit. In terms of purchasing, that valuable piece of equipment is within reach of the SLNTTA. It can shoot more than 100 balls before you need to reload it, so you can get a lot of practice without stopping. What say you Teddy Matthews. President of SLNTTA and 1st Vice President SLOC?
Cricket: The SLNCA will have to ensure that the playing facilities that they use for their respective tournaments are (1) in suitable playing condition and that includes the wicket; (2) players are taken care of and respected during national trails, (3) give / pay more attention to the under -15 cricketers.
Football: You really cannot please everybody; in fact it’s difficult to please anyone for that matter. The SLFA must ensure (1) they continue the grassroots programme, (2) that their events are properly advertised, (3) revive the club structure, (4) have courses for officials to keep them updated, (5) be consistent with results of matches, (6) each district participating in SLFA competition must resister an Under – 13/15/17/19/23 and senior team so the sport can continue to grow.
Volleyball: Never before have St. Lucian players had the opportunity to go out so often to various championships, but the final results speak volume as to where we are at on the globe. We must never fool ourselves when St. Lucia wins OECS. The in things are to win OECS and you’re an automatic qualifier for Continental. Question:- How can SLVA have the BOSL / Guy Brown Tournament and the Commercial League and expect players to do well on the international circuit? \Going into 2015 SLVA will have to take the sport to all 10 districts, and seek funding for at least two more tournaments male/ female under – 15 and male / female under – 19.
The sports of Shooting and Rugby have certainly made strides and one hope they can continue to grow in the New Year. For Shooting, one also hopes the much needed equipment from the SLOC will come to reality so St. Lucia will be a cutting edge at the international event..
Martial Arts: The time has come for ISKF, WPMA and the other martial arts groups on island to see eye to eye and come together to heal their differences and start to move the art form from A to Z.
Interestingly for the once popular sports such as Darts, Domino’s, Badminton and Pools my only advice: put your respective associations in order in this coming year and be counted; don’t allow the sport that attracted crowds to have a permanent death. Time for a show of hands to take up the mantle.
How much more can Sportlight go. Well, I truly want to single out the national under – 15 cricketers; the OECS swim team and the national under – 17 footballers for their outstanding performances in 2014. Levern Spencer, Jeannelle Scheper, Makeba Alcide, the Royal St.Lucia Police Force and St.Lucia Fire Service teams for their outstanding performance on main stage.
To all enthusiasts who made sports what it was, including the various sponsors. Sportlight wishes you a joyful season and all the success for 2015.