The London Games that can fittingly be dubbed the Women’s Games, are now a part of sporting history. The Caribbean Island-nations can also be dubbed the sprint capital of the world.
Jamaica lived up to the promise of providing excitement and high performance and Grenada, Trinidad & Tobago and the Bahamas have unleashed such outstanding performances that they have earned first class honours in gold.
To these Caribbean islands we proudly say hearty congratulations. Such individual performances ought to impel us to ask, “What of Antigua & Barbuda?” What approach ought we to have with respect to the Olympic Games that recur every four years?
We feel that the ministry that is responsible for sports ought to initiate a programme that can bring out the best in athletics that can be found in our youth. It will never be accepted by the youth and the people of this nation that we carry more officials than competitors to any Olympiad.
We feel that the time has come for any government that is in power to draw up a plan that will tap the physical resources of our youth. If other nations in our island chain have done it – we mean won medals in the Olympic Games – we can do it too.
We need a programme that will tap and realise the potential of our youth. We need to have regular athletic meets in which we can spot and utilise our talented youth. We need a cadre of spotters who will work in and with our schools. Out of this scouting operation, the talent will arise.
We need to make contact with universities that specialise in athletics and give our youth scholarships and from this pool our Olympic prospects will come.
We feel that out of this initiative, our Olympians will arise. In addition to such an initiative. We need to have permanent staff who will consistently and constantly be on the look out for talent.
We need to spot them when they are young and we need to initiate a programme that will utilise the talent that we have spotted.
We must begin, now. It is not too late for us to develop a cadre of young athletes who will compete in Brazil in 2016 and make us all, proud.
We need a programme. We need the will to initiate the programme. We need dedicated men and women who will make the programme work. We need the will and the money to carry out such a programme. With nation-wide co-operation and co-ordination such a programme will work and we will win.
The Olympic games are not designed for a top-heavy team of officials to go on a joy-ride. They must now give us their observations and ideas so that we can chart our way forward. And, we will win.