Kirani James, Kurt Felix, Lindon VictorCommentary by Michael Bascombe

Officials of the Grenada Olympic Committee (GOC), led by its President Roystan LaHee, attended the recent Commonwealth Games in Glasgow and had a first-hand view of the progress and possible medal prospects for Grenada at the Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro in the summer of 2016.

They should be encouraged by the experience and also the opportunity to speak to some of the competitors who should be among the Rio-bound contingent.

The reality is that it’s less than two years to go for the Games, and the Pan American Games in Toronto and the World Championships in Athletics in Beijing next July and August respectively will be the only major sporting events for Athletes, Boxers, Swimmers and other competitors to gain qualifications.

Grenada’s Road to Rio programme should be launched soon and it’s expected that it includes a campaign to encourage Grenadians at home and abroad to support Team Grenada – all the way to Rio.

Unlike London 2012, where it was easier for nationals to arrange flights and accommodation with family and friends, Brazil presents major challenges including language.

But there is no reason why the thousands of Grenadians residing in the United States and Canada should not be encouraged to travel to Toronto to support Team Grenada. This could also have a motivating effect on the Grenadian competitors.

By now the GOC should have discussed their Rio plans with national federations, outlining the requirements for their participation including possible qualifications at the PanAm Games in Toronto.

The Commonwealth Games showed great prospects for Grenada and I was particularly impressed with Jonathan Francois, the United Kingdom-born boxer. Francois lost his middleweight bout on points to the number eight ranked Canadian Custio Clayton. But speaking to coaches and other officials they were impressed with his performance and consider him a good talent for Grenada and Caribbean boxing in the future.

This certainly is encouraging and one hopes that the Grenada Boxing Association and the GOC support Francois in his preparation for Toronto and possible qualification to Rio.

The young swimmers would have experienced a higher level of competitiveness and a feel for the world stage. This should encourage and motivate them at the local and regional levels.

Track and Field continues to be the lead sport for Grenada especially at international events and the success in Glasgow could be an indication of what to expect over the next two years. Kirani James continues to write his own history adding the Commonwealth Games 400 metres title to his long list of achievements and he spiced it up with a new record of 44.24 seconds.

Kurt Felix and his younger brother Lindon Victor provided excitement in the Decathlon. And although Kurt secured the bronze medal and a national record (8070 points) his sibling secured a personal best of 7429 points. Much is expected from the track and field contingent in Toronto next July.

Hopefully, the 4x400m relay team could be a reality in 2015. There are good prospects but the Grenada Athletics Association (GAA) has to make and take some tough decisions.

The National Stadium, under reconstruction, is expected to be completed and ready in late 2015. This should give the GAA an opportunity to stage the National Championships in June 2016, and dates accommodative to all track and field athletes. This should also be a send-off for the athletes to the Rio Olympic Games.

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Opinion Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the columnist and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of GrenadaSports.

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