Antigua & Barbuda has entered a team that will participate in the London Olympics of 2012. We suspect that the composition of the delegation to the games is most interesting and, at the risk of being cynical, have been inclined to ask, whose games is this – the participants or the accompanying officials? After all, if there are seven officials and four competitors, whose games is it?
Perhaps it can be argued that there is a minimum of accompanying officials who ought to be present with any team. We don’t know. At the same time, we would like to ask: who pays for the people who go to the games? Does the home country pay the bill? Or does the Olympic Committee, as a result of affiliation?
To have a team where there are nearly twice as many officials as competitors is rather peculiar. If it is being argued that the number of competitors has been necessarily small because we have been deficient in training competitors, we will, without any semblance of an argument, agree that Antigua & Barbuda will have to look into the reality of giving athletic scholarships so that our athletes can go overseas to train and take their place as equals in international athletic competitions.
We would be the first to agree that from a numerical standpoint, Antigua & Barbuda is at a population disadvantage. However, there are events on the Olympic calendar in which we can compete on a world level and win. What about boxing and weightlifting? Weightlifting in the lighter divisions?
We have had giants like Walter Etinoff, who had the capacity to compete and win in any international competition. On the body-building kevel, which, unfortunately does not have a category at the Olympics, Walter Etinoff, Farley and Daley would have done us very proud. So why can’t we, if we made an effort? It is time for us to make a conscious effort to put our country on the international map of the Olympic Games.
What is unfortunate, if not ironic, is that Antigua & Barbuda and the rest of the Caribbean are islands completely surrounded by water, yet with the exception of a competitor from the Netherland Antilles, no one seems to have been able to survive in the troubled waters of the arena of the International Olympics either as swimmers or sailors.
We salute Jamaica, Trinidad & Tobago and St Kitts & Nevis for making their presence felt in the field of athletics. Every true West Indian national ought to be backing Usain Bolt and the Jamaica squad in the Olympic sprints.
When the time comes for the one-day cricket competition to be added to the events, we all know whom we ought to support.