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Do more for our athletes

Andi Thornhil

Do more for our athletes

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THE?PERFORMANCE?of the CARIFTA?team is the exact reason why more should have been done in a timely manner to relay the track at the National Stadium.
Our young athletes continue to be given more sweet talk than any real action that will assist in their development.
It is time that the powers that be reciprocate in the manner in which there will be mutual benefits for both individual and country.
It is true that facilities may not be all to achieve glowing performances but the least the authorities can do is give unquestionable proof that they have the goodwill of athletes and sportsmen in general at heart.
That conditionality wasn’t obvious in efforts to do the remedial work at the Stadium.
And it is not a case where the athletes were begging for a lunch ticket they deserve the whole hog based on performance. Just check, for instance, the returns of the squad in the past three years. They have done more than the average national team and I am not certain those efforts have been truly appreciated.
As is customary, it will be the norm again to jump on the bandwagon and heap praise on what was achieved in the Bahamas and all the other sweet nothings about what we need to do to aid the process going forward.
Chances are a year from now we will be stuck in the same mode. Outstanding performances, plenty accolades but nothing tangible that equates to performance on the scales of merit.
We simply have got to put our money or kind where our mouths are and not always after the fact but long before.
I have spoken before of sending our sportsmen to the battlefield like soldiers who are inferior in terms of preparation and equipment with which they have to fight to defend our honour and sovereignty.
Then again, it is part of the national psyche and culture to expect a lot but give so little in return even to see some process make the smallest step forward.
There will always be merit in the Kennedy mantra of not asking what your country can do for you but what you can do for your country but there are times when the roles have to be reversed or people have to meet each other halfway.
If every Bajan takes up the baton and run with the passion and industry as Mario Burke did in the under-17 boys’ 4x 400m relay, then the island’s productivity is in safe hands.
He and the rest of the team embodied what all of us are asked to do in our daily lives whether at work or play.
Have the authorities tried hard enough in the Stadium scenario to meet the athletes halfway?
I will be glad to hear if anyone can introduce me to any information that states otherwise.
Neither do I think that talk about economic hardships is that valid a reason not to have had the track completed because even in the midst of adversity there are still priorities.
But since when national athletes are given priority status?
What we are contending with at the moment is merely symbolic of what local sportsmen have had to put up with for donkey years.
It is like this either because what they do isn’t seen as significant to national development or that we continue to make mock sport at sports which is a serious business especially now in an era when it is a business and has implications for creating opportunities to make big bucks and hence helping to stimulate the economy.
The performances of the CARIFaTA?athletes have merely provided another chance for the authorities to get their focus in order.
• Andi Thornhill is an award-winning, experienced freelance sports journalist.