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Can T&T win ten Olympic medals by 2024?
When you believe in something you must stand your ground. As an example it is my unwavering belief that Trinidad and Tobago can achieve an Olympic medal target of ten by the year 2024.
I believe that with the right people, coaching and funding we can win Olympic medals on a regular and consistent basis.
We have the talent and potential residing here in TT.
Striving for excellence in sport requires first believing that excellence can be attained and the determination to stand your ground regardless of the obstacles lack of support or encouragement. If you believe in something stand your ground.
We have to change the culture that perceives and continue to hold firm to the perception that sport is a pastime or recreational activity only.
As we strive to use sport as a tool to aid the society in addressing and alleviating societal issues such as crime, obesity, a lack of civility and ethics and at risk behaviour.
Excellence is all encompassing.
Standing our ground for sport requires that all facets and dimensions of sport be addressed and promoted.
There are specific conditions that must be met.
Sport shouldn’t be a political football but having said that it is a strategic reality that sport is impacted by the political, economic, legal and societal environment in which it operates.
There must be a clear and unambiguous vision, policy, philosophical perspective and action plan for Olympic sports and the Olympic Games and this country’s participation, preparation and medal winning objectives . Non Olympic sports, recreational sports , community sports, school sports all require attention and an action plan.
In a multi-cultural society such as Trinidad and Tobago our diversity is both a blessing and a curse- managing the at times conflicting interests and dilemmas is an ever present challenge.
Sport has a critical role to play in shaping and contributing to the dialogue and development initiatives that will build a modern T&T that is fit for purpose. There are many issues to discuss.
Human dignity and equality for all includes those who participate in sport and are subjected to prejudice, discrimination and unequal treatment. The recognition of the dignity of human beings and their rights and freedoms must be acknowledged and protected. Persons participating in sport shouldn’t be disadvantaged or discriminated against.
Persons who participate in sport especially at the international level should not be perceived as expendable or as second class citizens.
The disintegration of sport clubs mirrors the destruction of our communities in the face of unplanned and ad hoc incursion of commercialism into residential communities.
A sustainable sport industry is a fantasy if there isn’t an economic, industry and trade policy aimed at restructuring and transforming the local economy so that it fosters entrepreneurs, creativity and innovation and risk taking.
Local sport must create its own drive, determination and will and first become self-sufficient in attitude, mindset and thinking.
On the field of play the difference between great teams and good teams, great athletes and good athletes is the attribute of keeping the brain attuned to good habits when bones are aching and lungs burning.
The same is required of sport leaders, managers and administrators.
When the pressure is on it’s the ability to stay focused and stand your ground under pressure.
Sport as much as it needs the support of Government must not become a prisoner of the political environment.
If only for the simple reason that sport transcends politics.
• Brian Lewis is the President of the Trinidad and Tobago Olympic Committee http://www.ttoc.org/. The views expressed are not necessarily those of the TTOC.