As the year 2012 concluded on Monday, an honest reflection of sport in T&T will reveal that it was another disappointing year overall.
Success is not measured by one result, whether it is gold, silver or bronze, nor is it measured by one month of happiness.
Instead, we need to examine, what has been done to develop sports in this country in a positive way.
Sadly, I have to say there is nothing substantial to report, apart from many promises which have not yet yielded any positive impact.
Interestingly, the people have also recognised this with many believing that sport is in one of the worst periods that we have witnessed in many years.
Sport has long been a neglected child by most governments over the last 20 years, and sadly there are no obvious signs of change.
The sad part of all of this is that it could have been a better year, if those in administration were able to work with many of the sporting associations, instead of constant public fighting and obsession with control.
While there can be no disagreement in establishing and ensuring transparency and accountability, proper corporate governance demands that it is better to be cordial than aggressive in your demands.
Earlier this year, many sporting organisations appeared afraid to speak their minds for fear of victimisation by those who control the money, but in the last three months, it appears as if the reality of the suffering of the athletes and sporting persons has finally allowed many to have voice.
The Cricket Board had their own problems with those in authority, but they were able to raise external sponsors and prevail.
However, apart from winning the Caribbean T20 title again, the national team finished fourth again in the four-day version of the game.
After challenging the Cricket Board in 2011 for not ensuring Kieron Pollard and Dwayne Bravo play for T&T in the Champions League, the Minister of Sports, Anil Roberts said he would ensure 2012 was different.
However, after months of saying all was resolved, the Indian Premier League players were predictably contracted out and not able to play for the national team.
We will never know for certain, but this protracted emphasis on the availability of these players could have ensured the current team lost confidence in their ability.
Then there was the case of young Keshorn Walcott and his brother needing assistance and the president of the National Association of Athletics Administrations (NAAA), Ephraim Serrette asking for assistance, only to be told that there were a number of requirements that had to be met before any assistance could be given.
This happened in January, and Walcott went on to make the entire country proud with a gold medal in the javelin at the London Olympics.
Walcott was not alone. At the Olympics, several of those who were promised funding participated on their parents and sponsors’ support.
This does not augur well or ensure that persons will be committed to this country, so full credit must be given to every athlete that represents this country because they do all of this in spite of those who are supposed to know better, not appearing to know at all.
Football also suffered, with the Minister of Sports having another quarrel, this time with the well-respected Anthony Harford.
However, due to Harford’s pedigree and track record, many persons in this country expressed full support and belief in Harford’s caring and honest value to sports.
But this personal expression by the Minister ensured that our national footballers traveled to St Kitts with no funding and no support, even after the first round was completed.
In the end, yet again, our team rose to the occasion and finished second in the Caribbean Cup Finals to qualify for the prestigious Gold Cup in the USA. It was a marvelous performance against all the odds.
Then there is the case of a Sambo team earning eight medals in the Pan American Sambo Championships where over 20 other countries participated only to be denied a chance for funding for the World Championships in Russia.
Perhaps to me, the worst is early retirement from amateur boxing of Commonwealth silver medalist Tariq Abdul Haq from the sport, because he was not trusting of some in boxing and also the funding process for elite funding.
Despite the success in London, too much bickering and fighting between the Minister and those who support sport took place. 2012 was not as good as we all make it out to be.
Less fighting and more support for our sport is my wish for the New Year.
I hope the Minister and myself are on the same page in this regard. :: AB