EDITORIAL: Let’s turn sporting talent into success
BARBADIANS LOOKING FOR that moment of glory to hold onto must have been terribly disappointed with the performance of the national team at the just-ended Pan American Games in Canada.
Then the Tridents in the final of the Caribbean Premier League cricket championship turned in nothing less than a disappointing showing.
This is not a satisfactory reflection of the wealth of sporting talent in this country.
That Barbados gained three medals at the Pan Am Games and the Tridents were second best in the final of the T20 cricket competition might be considered a consolation of sorts. But the reality is that in sports, like in most fields of endeavour, it is being No. 1, and top of the table, which matters most.
By now most Barbadians should realise that sports and sporting achievement are no longer there for a feel-good objective. Sport is now an important tool for marketing the name of this country abroad, an opportunity for personnel development and also a tool for social and economic development at the national level.
When our athletes win gold, there is not only that sense of triumph over rivals, often from more developed countries with better facilities and greater exposure, but also a feeling of pride which envelops the entire society. We are all proud of the administrators, even the coaches and sportsmen and women.
On the flip side, we acknowledge that when our sportsmen do not come out on top, all the negatives can take hold of us, and a truly destructive element can overtake. Admittedly, our sportsmen must compete in an environment which is much more demanding than was the case yesteryear. Still, top-class results are what are expected.
Some will argue that winning three medals at the Pan Am Games was a good achievement, but the reality is that not excelling in this competition against less than the best athletes in the world raises questions concerning what should be the expectations at next month’s World Championships in China or for that matter, next year’s Olympics in Brazil.
That is why even before our athletes take on opponents on the world stage, the traditional methods previously used to develop sporting prowess and achieve outstanding results are all but outdated. Access to new technology and personal determination for success matter most today.
The demands on the sportsmen are great and so it must also be of those preparing the talent in whatever discipline. They must be able to put in place the very best training programmes while Government must implement all the promises it has made to facilitate both the sportsmen, their coaches and the administrators of the sports.
There is no doubt Barbados has a wealth of sporting talent. The key factor is to turn it into success.