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It’s party time again!

Friday, August 18, 2017
Brian Lewis

Yes, it’s party time again!

Gold, Joy and sport in an economic recession currently consuming the Republic of T&T after sons of the soil created history on Sunday when they stunned the favourites and powerful Americans to capture gold in the men’s 4x400 metres relay event in historic fashion.

The question sober heads are asking is at what cost mindful of the economic challenges facing the country as much as those of us in sport argue and seek greater respect, support, funding and investment and make resentful remarks about bandwagonism and hypocrisy.

We must ask ourself, are we our own worse enemy?

In addition to that pot, the reputation damage done to sport globally by corruption and doping, in T&T we are faced with perhaps all the issues associated with poor governance.

The question the corporate world is asking is why align to a tainted wagon?

With participation levels stagnating or falling what are the investment justification that will generate a return on investment?

Everyone knows that every dollar of investment made by corporate T&T demands a return of some kind. However, what we tend to do in sport is go to the default argument of corporate social responsibility (CSR), but is professional and elite sport corporate social responsibility?

For the record, Corporate social responsibility (CSR) is a business approach that contributes to sustainable development by delivering economic, social and environmental benefits for all stakeholders.

So why should corporate and public sector countenance lack of transparency and accountability?

Professional and elite sport will—in the main—lose the corporate social responsibility argument as it continue to challenge for the corporate dollar alongside a company’s investment in activities and projects with communities and countries.

So yes, T&T win a gold medal as them boys (young men I should say) ran their hearts to bring joy and a positive image and attention to T&T on one of the biggest sporting stages in the World.

The T&T national anthem was just one of 18 countries out of 203 that played. It was the anthem that closed the Championship. What a proud moment for all of us.

Gold medal and other global achievements are yet to foster the needed consensus on where sport should be in the national plans and vision.

The argument that sport is only taken serious for nine days when there is cause for celebration may well appear to be accurate if we don’t use this golden achievement to have a deeper discussion and implement policies that would support and produce more medals, gold medals that is, in the future.

As many of our athletes continue to struggling to get funding for future preparations, we find the funding to celebrate and reward but let’s keep in mind they money to prepare for the next years Commonwealth Games, the world championship, a year later and the Olympics in 2020. Where will it come from?

The performance by Jerrin Solomon, Jareem Richards, Machel Cedenio and Lalonde Gordon, who ran in that order to established the best time in the world for 2017 of 2:58.12, created a new chapter in T&T sporting history.

So before us is another golden opportunity which is, to engage in sober discussions about where we go from here. It must not be another in an ongoing series of nine day celebrations and nothing more.

From here on the focus is the Gold Coast 2018 Commonwealth Games and Doha 2019 IAAF World Championship in which both are preparations for the 2020 Tokoyo Olympic Games. And as we all know by now T&T is intolerant people when it comes to those who rain on their parade.


EDITOR’S NOTE: Brian Lewis is the President of the T&T Olympic Committee (T&TOC). The views expressed are not necessarily those of the organisation.


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