The 2017 University of The West Indies (UWI) Inter Campus Games got underway Thursday evening with Professor Clive Landis labelling the sporting extravaganza as “unique games” that brought together four separate campuses to host one sporting competition.
In an opening ceremony attended by Professor Eudine Barriteau, Pro Vice-Chancellor and Principal, Cave Hill Campus, Professor Sir Hilary Beckles, Vice-Chancellor, The UWI, Minister of Sport Stephen Lashley and National Hero Sir Garfield Sobers, among others, deputy principal Landis noted that with campuses in sovereign, independent countries there was no other university in the world which could hold games such as those of the University of the West Indies.
The Biennial competition attracts students from all four UWI campuses, Cave Hill, Mona St Augustine and Open Campus. Professor Barriteau highlighted that the UWI games “is a manifestation of the University’s belief in the importance of the personal, professional, intellectual and psychosocial development of student athletes through competitive sports.”
The Professor noted that regional businesses should take note of what was going on locally in the sporting arena.
“I also firmly believe that national and regional business communities need to pay very keen attention to the rapid growth and diversification of national and regional sport.”
She suggested the need for businesses to capitalize on the rapid growth of sporting markets and take notice of its potential as an industry. “The business and events management communities should focus on the rapid growth of sport, not simply as a leisure activity but as a lucrative industry, a sub economy of sporting leisure.
“The sporting industry continues to have a major impact on economies across the world with sport contributing hundreds of billions of dollars annually to the economies of numerous countries such as the US, Europe and Australia,” she said.
On April 27 this year the University of the West Indies finally established its Faculty of Sport. Sir Hilary emphasised the importance sports could play in the development of the countries in the region as well as its sports people. He pointed out the significant role the Faculty of Sport could play. “You student athletes are now the parents of a product that has long been in the making and you are going to be the custodians of the excellence achieved over a 100 years in being one of the finest sporting performance cultures around the world.
“Right here in this auditorium are young people who are performers, administrators, and supporters who I’m sure are committed to sustaining our global excellence. The faculty of sport is dedicated to this purpose.”
Sir Hilary noted that without the proper structures and systems in place, growth in sport could be stalled and development hampered which could cause the region to go from a gem in sport to a disastrous state.
“20 years ago no one could imagine that the West Indies cricket team would collapse from being awesome to awful. But it happened. Could anyone here imagine that in 20 years’ time Jamaica would not be able to win a medal at the Olympics in track?
“Could any of you imagine the Caribbean not on the medal podium in the Olympics in 20 years time? Can you imagine that our track performance can collapse from awesome to awful? But it could happen. It has happened before it could happen again,” Sir Hilary said.
The Vice-Chancellor’s Sportswoman and Sportsman of the Year 2017 awards were also presented at the opening ceremony. Students were nominated from each campus who had performed outstandingly in sport as well academically for the year 2016/2017. The Sportswoman award was presented to Shimona Nelson of Mona, a netballer and basketballer, and to Vikash Mohan of St Augustine, a cricketer.
The eight-day competition comprises of many sports including football, volleyball, hockey, basketball, swimming, track & field, cricket, netball and tennis.
In the first football game of the 2017 UWI Games, Cave Hill Campus thrashed the Open Campus team 6-0. The UWI Blackbirds got the scoring going early when Romario Watson netted. Watson doubled the score just before half-time and gave the Blackbirds boys full control. The Open Campus team looked completely out of their league failing to create any chances in the first half.
The Cave Hill lads started the second half in flying style scoring four unanswered goals putting the game out of reach of the Open Campus team. Two goals from Axel George and one each from Zaid Quintyne and Ramon Collymore rounded off what was a very disciplined performance from the Blackbird boys.
Up next the Blackbirds team will face UWI St. Augustine on Sunday at 7p.m.