Clive Lloyd

By Clive H. Lloyd, CBE, OA

Courtesy Kaieteur Sports

Former West Indies Captain and now special adviser to President Donald Ramoutar has given his thoughts on the way forward for sports development in Guyana.  Kaieteur Sport presents the entire missive on his findings following a period of study during his new role with the government.

Recently the sporting gods smiled on the fair city of London after an inordinately rainy spring and early summer, precisely as the Olympic flame was lit to raise the curtain and welcome the world’s best athletes, to the 2012 Olympic Games.

Looking back, the Games evoked emotions and reactions ranging from pregnant anticipation to excitement to frustration – Anticipation of the phenomenal level of achievement by the best athletes in the world; excitement as one witnessed the epitome of athletic prowess as muscles and sinews were stretched to the limit in athletic competition and frustration at the mediocre performance of Guyana’s athletes.

One was compelled to lend vociferous support for our Caribbean neighbours and their remarkable athletes like Keshorn Walcott, Kirani James and Usain Bolt, for being the absolute best at what they do, outclassing the performance of athletes from major competing nations including the United States, China, Great Britain and others.

Bearing witness to these West Indian athletes’ amazing talents, gave me pause for thought  – I could not help but be saddened at the state of Sports in Guyana however I wondered what it would be like if our vast home-grown talent in Track, Field, Archery, Rowing, Shooting, Swimming, Cycling, Boxing, Weightlifting, Pole Vault, High Jump, Long Jump, Javelin, Hammer and Discus Throw, Squash and Table Tennis, were professionally trained and developed to compete in future Olympics and International Events.

My strong view is that within the borders of our nation, there is an abundance of young men and women, from every race and creed, with immense mental and athletic ability who could be trained to compete!  In my opinion the difference between these young men and women and Usain Bolt, Keshorn Walcott, Kirani James, Shelly Ann Fraser-Pryce, is the lack of proper training facilities with state of the art technology and equipment and professional coaching.

It is our responsibility to identify and provide these young men and women with the tools they need to succeed at home and abroad. These are the issues that must be urgently addressed as we look at the way forward for the development of Sports in Guyana.

Short term Plan: we must look to erase the painful emptiness of the London 2012 experience and put in place a plan that would incorporate the following:-

a) Plumb the reservoir of talented athletes – in the words of the Song of the Republic, ‘from the Pakaraima peaks of power to the Corentyne lush sands’.

b) Develop a cadre of athletes capable of making more than just a token appearance at international level and more particularly at the upcoming 2016 Olympic Games, just across our border in Brazil.

c) Build a National Track & Field Stadium and Velodrome, and an Olympic Training Centre with State of the Art Equipment and Technology.

d) Provide our athletes with professional coaches of international acclaim.

e) Develop a rigorous training program, supported by commercial entities including Adidas, Nike, ASICS, Reebok, Coca Cola, Pepsi, Banks DIH, and DDL.

f) Restore our grounds and playing fields throughout Guyana to encourage raw talent and provide our youth with places to practice.

All the above will require Funding and we will have to look at home and abroad for developmental monies.  There are many International Organizations looking to invest and we will have to explore these.

Long term Plan

The Government of Guyana should seek to elevate the level and the quality of sports programs in schools all across the country and make it an important part of the schools’ curriculum.

Over the years scientists have long held the view that regular aerobic exercise – that is vigorous exercise – can positively affect the brain. In fact expanding research has shown that exercise can improve the performance of the brain by boosting memory and actually speeding up the learning process, and studies have shown that school-age children who have a higher level of aerobic fitness processed information more efficiently.

It is vital that Government as well as teachers and other administrators understand the importance of Sports in the development of our society and recognize the virtues of applying human and financial resources to this institution accordingly.

Sports provide healthy challenges.

Sports create scholastic and professional opportunities.

Sports provide a foundation for wholesome human development.

To the youth it extols the virtues of peaceful co-existence and teamwork, and manifests the value of discipline and dedication.  A regiment of Sports and good nutrition is a catalyst for fitness and good health.  A healthy society is the underpinning of a productive nation.

On every continent throughout the world, even the casual observer would discern that Sports has always been on the cutting edge of progress and a vehicle for fostering peace and unity.

We must, as a Nation, seek to create such an environment, provide the facilities and the opportunity for purposeful and meaningful participation by our students and youths in the various disciplines of Sports.  Such an investment in our youth is a worthy down payment on Guyana’s future.

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