The adage of ‘we make sport at sports’ is one that the Minister of Youth, Sport and Community Empowerment, Charles Griffith, said he will not embrace and but totally rebuke.
Speaking today at the 2022 Chefette Frosteez National Primary Schools Athletics Championship (NAPSAC) Distance Relay Championship Awards Ceremony held at the Garfield Sobers Sports Complex, Griffith said his ministry is doing everything in its power to ensure proper resources are put in place for national athletes. He explained that the Ministry of Sport has provided a much-needed resource in a redeveloped gym located downstairs at the Gymnasium so that the national athletes do not have to pay to patronise private gyms.
“I have every intention to make sure that I can do what I’m supposed to as the manager of the sporting farm of this country to make sure that our athletes reach the podium stage. And I ask all of you to be involved in the process because it is not a management process that I can do by myself. Everybody must be involved in the vineyard in terms of nurturing these youngsters to ensure they get to the level that they are supposed to get to.
“Hence the reason last week I had an athletes’ forum and we had people like Glen Mills who coached Usain Bolt involved in the process right here on this floor to make sure that best practices as it relates to athletics are obtained in this country. And we know that there are resources not readily available now but we believe that those resources will come at some point in time so that our athletes have everything that they see in North America and see in other countries.
“We have recently started to redevelop the gym here to ensure that our athletes do not have to pay money to go to a private gym to train. It is not something that would touch these young ones as yet but we are doing everything necessary at the ministry and by extension the government to ensure that sport in this country is one that we move away from the adage that we keep making – government after government – that we make sport at sports,” Griffith said.
Several schools were in attendance for the awards ceremony put on by the NAPSAC committee in association with the National Sports Council which every year plays a vital role in ensuring the success of the event.
West Terrace Primary Tigers captured three of the five overall age-group categories – Under-nine 4x400m mixed relay, Under-11 Boys 4x600m relay and the Under-13 Boys 4x800m relay in the Patsy Callender Zone.
Meanwhile Hilda Skeene Primary won the Under-11 Girls 4x600m in the Freida Nicholls Zone and Bayley’s Primary emerged victorious in the 4x800m relay for Under-13 Girls in the Obadele Thompson Zone.
Chairperson of NAPSAC, Janelle Denny, told those present she was excited for the future of NAPSAC and thanked the sponsors, physical education teachers and all those that continue to ensure the annual event is successful.
“You athletes have shown that you are not as fragile as some may think. We watched in the light of your silky smooth form, the ease and grace with which you ran and your display of power and strength when needed. I am excited about the future and the future of the NAPSAC brand as your performances have ushered in a new era, a new path,” Denny stated.
She added: “As we have reflected throughout these 20th-anniversary celebrations, we have simultaneously aspired to a greater future with our creativity and execution of our events, to assist in keeping the athletes focused and motivated to remain involved in sport.”
Two athletes were the proud recipients of the Made It Against the Odds Jamarion Mapp Memorial Award. They are Ariel Barker-Yarde of Charles F Broome Primary and Emmanuel Augustin of Mount Tabor Primary. This special award is in recognition of athletes who persevere despite the challenges they face.
Managing director of Chefette Restaurants and Frosteez Ice-cream Limited Ryan Haloute spoke about the importance of investing in youth. During his brief remarks, he encouraged the young athletes to set the bar high and continue to be disciplined, noting that any one of them could be the next Rihanna or Obadele Thompson.
“You may not like it every day or every minute that you do it but the benefits will pay off as you are seeing, so continue to have that discipline to achieve your goals and what you want to achieve in your journey in life. Also, dedication because what you put in is what you get out, there is no shortcut in life, at least I don’t know of any shortcut.”