The Grenada Olympic Committee and the Ministry of Sports, as well Beacon Insurance and other sponsors, deserve to be commended for hosting another successful Sports Awards’ ceremony. Credit also must be given to the many people who, each year, work tirelessly in the background to make the event a success.
The annual Sportsman and Sportswoman of the Year Awards are far and away one of the best-organized functions in all of Grenada, Carriacou and Petite Martinique.
Always, the awards’ night — like the night of Saturday, 30 January at the Spice Basket — belongs to the honourees — the men and women who represent their clubs, schools and Grenada in competition.
For yet another occasion, Olympic champion Kirani James captured the Senior Sportsman of the Year Award; and cricketer Afy Fletcher was Senior Sportswoman of the Year.
We also congratulate decathlete Kurt Felix on receiving the President’s Award; retired athlete Maurice “Bull” Williams — the Lifetime Achievement Award; Joella Roberts — the Academic Award; Candesha Scott — the Junior Sportswoman Award; and Carriacou’s Emmanuel Stewart copped the Junior Sportsman Award.
We are certain that an overwhelming majority of our young sportsmen and women have no clue who is Maurice “Bull’ Williams. But, he was among the best in his day.
Williams is a retired long-distance runner who won Grenada’s first-ever gold medal on the track at the 1981 CARIFTA Games. At the 1981 Games, he also was a silver medalist in the 1500 meters.
Anyway, now that the GOC sports awards have been handed out and the lights are turned off, our athletes must get down to training to try and be competitive with their peers, especially regional and international athletes. There are many good examples and solid advice, if embraced, that can ensure their success in competition.
For example, in a commentary published in the 28 January edition of Caribupdate Weekly, writer Ronald “Pappy” Charles suggested that “in order to become a professional and reach the elite level one has to have talent, desire and dedication to constantly work hard to improve. While ability and work ethic are essential skills, confidence is another important characteristic that sets professionals apart from other athletes. With confidence, you become more aggressive and play/perform harder and better.”
Charles argues that “government has taken the lead by providing us with a world-class athletic and football stadium. It is our turn now to do what is necessary to continue producing world-class athletes. We have to jump-start our stalled athletic programs, motivate and re-energize those athletes who are presently in competition to maximize their abilities and potential, as well as coax those who have lost interest, to get back on the track.”
Charles makes very valid points with which we concur.
Then, there is Jamaica that is inaugurating a Jamaican Athletes’ Insurance Plan (JAIP) for their national athletes.
The JAIP forms part of recommendations outlined in Jamaica’s National Sports Policy of 2013. It aims to provide sustainable health and life insurance, pension and retirement coverage for all eligible national athletes.
The cost of premiums will be shared between the Jamaican government and the national sport associations and federations. The government is to contribute 95%. Collectively, the sporting bodies are to provide the remaining 5%.
Caribupdate Weekly believes the JAIP initiative is something that Grenada, at some point, ought to consider and adopt, once the wherewithal is available.
Finally, this is a major weekend of festivities across the nation. It is the weekend celebration of our nation’s 42ndanniversary of independence, achieved on 7 February 1974, under the leadership of our first Prime Minister, the late Sir Eric Matthew Gairy. It took some time; but, today, Independence Day is widely embraced by Grenadians who are proud to wear and display the red, green and gold national colours of our flag.
This newspaper extends independence best wishes to all nationals and commends those who have been courageous enough to provide public service in government, especially our leaders since independence: Gairy, Maurice Bishop, Herbert Blaize, Ben Jones, Nicholas Brathwaite, George Brizan, Tillman Thomas and Keith Mitchell.
Our independence celebrations of 2016 also coincided with final weekend of events that formed part of pre-Lenten carnivals on the Sister Island of Carriacou, as well as in places such as Trinidad and Tobago, Dominica and Brazil.
We urge our brother and sisters in Carriacou to do the utmost to have a very successful and enjoyable carnival. Keep it safe; keep it clean.
The same wish goes out to the people of T&T, Dominica and Brazil.