The Inter Secondary School Championships are now behind us.
Spectators were treated to some dazzling performances by our young athletes. There is promise of good things in store for the future of track and field in this country.
Credit goes out to the sports minister and all and sundry that came on board; Maples, Dart Group, CIAA as well as the government Agencies. With their united support there was hope to instil some interest in the games and to attract more spectators. Sadly, their valiant efforts seemed to have failed miserably.
As a spectator over the two day event, I was appalled by the almost empty stadium glaring before my eyes on the end of the first day. I took heart, believing that the reason for this measly turnout was that it was the preliminary day and the turnout will increase considerably over the next day- the finals.
On this day championship was strategically set to take place between 4pm and 9pm. It was hoped that with the meet so placed, spectator attendance would have increased voluminously, as spectators would appear in their droves after work. Well, there was an increase in crowd but nothing near where anticipated.
One would have thought that with attendance to the game free of charge, the stadium would have been bursting at the seams to hold spectators.
Can we say we are serious about building a future for athletics with this kind of non-supporting attitude?
How can we realistically hope to produce athletes that can effectively compete with the rest of the world, if this is the attitude we are going to portray?
The memories of Cydonie Mothersil, Chantelle Morrison and Ronald Forbes heroic performances are still fresh in our minds and if we are hoping that our kids will someday emulate these stars, we will have to do better and lend greater support to the young athletes. They are indeed the future of tomorrow.
The aphorism, “what you put in is what you get out” is indeed true, as the paltry results we see sometimes, are directly related to the support we offer our athletes.
Admittedly, not every child will become a star athlete but the ranges of choices for vocation/career affiliated with sports are so large.
On another sour note, on both days as well as during the Primary School Championship, I watched as athletes who had just completed their races, are strewn across the track, just by the finish line. This does not only waste valuable time but force the already tired athletes to stand in the agonising heat of the sun for more time than is necessary.
The precious ones should be made to stand under some shaded area and the necessary details obtained briskly by the marshals.
Finally, with the next day a normal school day, one would have hoped the games would have been concluded earlier and the kids sent home to rest and prepare for school. Instead for whatever reasons, the meet dragged on way after 10pm. We hope next year all these kinks will be corrected as these events can be very successful.
Again thanks to the ministers and the rest of team, they have done their part, now it is the rest of country to follow.