Much of the money earned through successful marketing of Caribbean athletes’ outstanding performances should be ploughed back into training and development of the youngsters to ensure consistent performances, Sagicor General Manager, Edward Clarke, has suggested.
Addressing the opening of University of the West Indies, Cave Hill Campus’ first Caribbean Sports Conference at the Errol Barrow Centre for Creative Imagination last night, Clarke said revenue to the region was linked to mass media reports of outstanding achievements that led to sponsorships along with purchasing of broadcasting rights by international networks.
But he said that such money earned must be re-invested in further development of regional talent to ensure continued outstanding achievements.
“The challenge lies in creating innovative solutions to reinvest these monies to further develop sports either through better incentives, salaries, prize money, developing higher quality coaches and technical expertise, hosting clinic and sports camps,” he said, while adding that the potential pool and opportunity were wide and deep.
Clarke continued: “Apart from being highly enjoyable, sports is one of our biggest drivers of talent and it is something at which we are great. It has the potential to boost our economy, give us international influence, and it goes a long way in nurturing national pride.”
Clarke saw opportunities “not only for our budding athletes of tomorrow, but also on an economic scale affecting sports tourism, which had a direct knock-on effect on spending, and employment in, the hotel industry, bars, restaurants, sports entertainment and sports marketing and sponsorship.
He said: “sports is a key element of the Caribbean’s growth agenda…Caribbean sports has the ability to draw the world’s attention and interest when its athletes are performing at the top of their game…sports are a unifying cultural mainstay, and a part of everyday life throughout the Caribbean.”
Sagicor is the sponsor of the three-day conference at Cave Hill that will see a range of sports professionals and experts in sports science make presentations to, and hold workshops with, young athletes and administrators across the Caribbean.
Keynote presenter and workshop leader is professor Terry Orlick of the School of Human Kinetics at the University of Ottawa.
“Access to this level of education and training would allow our young people in the region to have an opportunity to achieve greatness in whatever field they desire,” Clarke said, adding that sports acted as a force that brought people together and provided a sense of unity in the region. In addition to sponsorship of the conference, Sagicor has underwritten the attendance costs of 10 young athletes from Barbados and across the Caribbean.
The young persons who Clarke described as “very promising athletes from various disciplines” are: Shonica Wharton of netball; Danielle Titus of swimming; Meagan Best, squash; Shae Martin, badminton; Shai Carrington, football; Sada Williams, Jonathan Jones and Fallon Forde, Track and Field; and Tower Lorde, Basketball.