T&T’s track and field, in spite of our Olympic performance, is largely “hit and miss” and “luck and chance.” America drops the baton, we pick up a medal. Canada messes up, we pick up a medal. There is no professional approach to organising. There should be a three-tiered structure within a coordinating body. Planning, implementation and accounting. There should be a secretary responsible for each level. Planning should be in advance of proposed games. It should be standardised time-wise. Venues should be identified, booked and properly prepared. Sponsors should be solicited, brochures packed with relevant information: events, participants, winners/defending champions from previous meets readily available to the public.
Implementation would depend on skill and experience of personnel employed for the effort: track judges, starters, recorders, timers, announcers and other officials. The 2013 World Championship is in Moscow. It’s time to end the party and get down to serious business. Examine who should have been in London. Who did not make it? Of those who made it, why did they failed to deliver or delivered hardware for our nation. Where was the psychologist when both male and female relay teams lost opportunities to be more effective? There were less than amicable conversations on the 4x100 men and 4x100 women in London. A “red flag” for an independent investigation.
Why did Thompson and Callendar lobby to omit Sorillo from the 4x100 relay? Michael Bascombe, a sports analyst for Grenada TV commented after the Crystal Palace run: “Sorillo did a decent job on first leg at the recent Grand Prix in London with a 0.126 reaction time, very nice run by the guys and clean exchanges.” Richard Thompson’s reaction was “our exchanges can be improved.” It was a loaded statement. Why was Sorillo denied a chance to get an Olympic Medal? “You cannot change team in an Olympic Games!” This was a surprising comment to justify one’s position, when Jamaica and USA each earned six medals. T&T four! Why did coach Hypolite, with a final say, refuse to let Sorillo run the 4 x 100m relay? He permitted Callendar to compete. Callendar placed fifth in the nationals. Burns was fourth ! Sorillo finished third, entitling him a position on the team. Bledman had a hip injury.
This raises some interesting questions: Can athletes trust officials who do not observe the rules?
The following is not the solution, but recommendations for the NAAA.
1. Present a strategic plan for development
2. Liaise with Primary and Secondary schools associations
3. Bring all coaches together in interactive conferences
4. Accept the Cuban coaches as part of the developmental process
5. Incorporate the business community.
6. Recommend playgrounds for development
7. Meet with the Government in conversations
8. Seek to have already existing fields open for practice.
If any of these recommendations are already in train, consider those which are not.