EDITORIAL: Youth on track
In an era when we are eager to criticize our young people with a broad brush and claim that they are deviant and undisciplined and are habitués of the block, and are given to adopting the mores and habits alien to our culture; it is refreshing to see and hear the answer of the young folks themselves.
The latest such action-based response to these unfair, broad, sweeping allegations has been the excellent performances of our athletes in the latest CARIFTA Games and the swimming championships. Our team placed second with a tally of 27 medals, nine of which were gold, and in the swimming championships we collected 48 medals, of which 21 were gold.
We applaud the efforts of all the athletes, including those who did not win medals.
Not every member of the team may have won a medal; indeed not every team member can. Yet, the contribution of each member to the team spirit of the contingent cannot be underestimated, for a group that bonds well is able to generate the self-confidence which, when allied with talent and determination, inevitably brings success.
We fully endorse the words of Minister of Family Stephen Lashley that the team’s performance just goes to show what the youth of Barbados can achieve when they apply concentration and determination to a particular task.
We also agree with him that the team’s success sends a positive signal to the rest of our young people that they too can achieve their dreams with the right mix of character and resolve.
The instant need is to harness the talent of these young people to increased opportunities for them to exploit the fruits of their undoubted talent.
The track at the National Stadium needs to be relaid in a hurry. We know that the Government is committed to this project, but not a moment must be lost since the momentum must be seized so that other aspiring athletes may join their peers in wholesome development of body and mind.
In dealing with further opportunities for training, we note the minister’s disclosure that talks had been going on with the Indian authorities to have our athletes train in India. In fact, he said he hoped to announce a new partnership with India with a view to having our athletes train there.
It is ironic that this idea should be mooted in the wake of our success at CARIFTA Games. Our Jamaican brothers and sisters have demonstrated their prowess in track and one wonders whether it may not be a better plan to tap into our regional expertise rather than sending our athletes halfway across the world to train.
Do we not have access to other expertise in track and field in this hemisphere?
Perhaps this is a matter on which the public may need to be better informed before it is written in stone. But whatever the shortcomings (if any) of such a plan, it does show that the minister recognizes the need for further training and exposure for our up-and-coming athletic stars.
Those among our young people who choose positive lifestyles and eschew the deviance and destructive subculture penetrating our society must be given every encouragement, because their success can be a powerful motivator to other young people to choose equally wholesome activities.
Our young athletic stars may have just sent a most positive and powerful message for good!