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Atlantic drills $7m into ACE
Coaches at the primary school level will now have a chance to get equipped with the necessary skills and knowledge via formal certification to support the long-term development of the National Primary Schools’ Cricket League, National Primary Schools Football League and National Primary Schools Track and Field Championship over the next three years courtesy of Atlantic’s Coaching Excellence (ACE) Programme.
This was disclosed by Toni Sirju-Ramnarine, Atlantic’s vice-president, Corporate Operations at yesterday’s launch of the $7 million programme held at the Ballroom, Hyatt Regency Trinidad, Wrightson Road, Port-of-Spain, yesterday.
Those in attendance included, the Honorable Tim Goopesingh, Minister of Education; national sports ambassadors Dr Brian Lara and Daren Ganga, both former West Indies captains; Atlantic Sports ambassadors in West Indies women’s cricket captain Merissa Aguilleira; World Championship Short Course Swimming 100m Im bronze medalist and four-time Olympian George Bovell III; along with West Indies players Kieron Pollard and Sunil Narine; and Olympic sailor Andrew Lewis.
Others included T&T Football Federation (TTFF) president, Raymond Tim Kee, T&TFF’s technical director Anton Corneal and former Soca Warriors World Cup goalkeeper, Neil Shaka Hislop.
Sirju-Ramnarine, reflecting on sports in which Atlantic remains involved within T&T, stated that through its support of three national primary schools competitions, many children have been able to actively participate in cricket, football and track and field.
“They have done so with the voluntary support of their teachers, parents and other members of the community. These volunteers are passionate individuals who commit their lunch breaks, afternoons, and sometimes weekends (in order) to introduce children to sport, and training them as best they can. We wholeheartedly commend their efforts, for without this, children would not experience sport in schools and communities.
“However, we also believe that we need to marry that passion with formal training and certification. Recognising the need to build the capacity of our coaches, we have developed this ACE Programme, which will focus on developing coaches at the primary school level to ensure they can deliver the best coaching to young children.”
Sirju-Ramnarine added, “At present, Atlantic has an average of 250 schools participating in each of its annual primary schools’ programme and the ACE Programme, over the next three years will target those persons who are presently coaching children in these schools, with the intent to not only certify these coaches, but also to encourage persons from non-participating schools to get certified.
“I must add here that this includes increasing the number of female coaches, as we have recognised that there is a significant shortage of female coaches who can play a unique role in the development of young girls in our primary school.”
The ACE Programme along with our sponsorship of the three primary school leagues, represents an overall investment of TT$7 million over the next three years. Through this ACE we hope to:
• Firstly, increase the number of certified coaches in our primary schools
• Secondly, with an increase in the number of coaches, this will mean that more schools will have access to qualified coaching than currently exists, translating into an increase in participation in sports among primary school children.
• Thirdly, this programme seeks to raise the standard of coaching at primary school level, via which we can build a solid foundation for the future of sport.
• Finally, this programme will facilitate the development of coaches as mentors, advisors and role models for our primary school children.
In the case of cricket, certification of our primary school cricket coaches will be done my Mr Darren Holder, a level 3 High Performance coach and assessor with Cricket Australia. Darren was also a former Coaching Manager for the West Indies Cricket Board and still facilitates certification for the WICB. The training and certification will be based on the Level One Coaching Certificate, in the first instance, with the possibility of administering a higher certification in subsequent years.
“With respect to football, Atlantic will partner with the T&T Football Federation. The TTFF, through its technical director and approved FIFA Instructor, Anton Corneal has developed a unique and tailored programme, which is geared to equip coaches at the primary school level with the requisite knowledge and skills necessary to coach and mentor children of that young age.”
“As I mentioned before, Atlantic also supports track and field at the primary school level, and we are still in discussion with the relevant bodies with the aim of implementing a similar certification structure for track and field.”
Sirju-Ramnarine noted that Atlantic’s ultimate goal is to eventually have certified coaches in the three sports in every primary school in T&T.
“It is our hope that in time, this ACE Programme would have been transformational in the development of sport in our country and in the mentoring and development of our youth.
Nigel Darlow, chief executive officer of Atlantic was quick to note that the ACE Programme will allow his company to build on the foundation which has already been established through its national sporting programme, aimed at nurturing and developing young sporting talent:
“Sport has the power to transcend socio-economic and cultural boundaries, making it a medium that has a common language; one which offers opportunities for self-expression and self-realisation, for children from any background. It is a healthy alternative to negative and harmful actions such as crime or drug abuse. Through training and team experiences, children can develop social and communication skills, build positive relationships and find social support.”
Darlow added, “For many years, Atlantic has sponsored the national primary school programme in football, crickety, and track and field and these programmes seek to develop not only sporting excellence but perhaps, more importantly, to foster self-esteem and other valuable life skills, as well as engender the moral and social values conducive to the development of a better society.
“So Atlantic is very pleased to launch this sporting initiative today. It is another opportunity for us to support young people in their overall development. We believe this ACE Programme will provide an important element in doing so.”
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