Greater sports funding is the key!
Within the national sporting fraternity, there are many ongoing talking points. Issues have gone viral.
The discussions vary.
There was the controversy in Doha, Qatar, recently at the International Association of Athletic Federation’s (IAAF) World Championship regarding the medal presentations for the men’s 400 meters; the discussion about the difference in the workloads between women’s 400 meters gold medalist Salwa Eid Naser of Bahrain, and our own Shaunae Mller-Uibo who won the silver; the Bahamas Association of Athletics Associations’ (BAAA) request for funding for the IAAF Worlds; Minister of Youth, Sports and Culture Hon. Lanisha Rolle’s picture on medals; the conclave that didn’t include some prominent sports leaders; complaints against sports media personnel; honors or lack thereof for sporting stalwarts, and so on.
Indeed, the sports landscape is abuzz.
I submit though that at the top of the priority list ought to be lobbying for a much larger allocation for sports development within the National Budget. The funding available to the Ministry of Sports is quite limited. This has been the case for years.
In particular, the BAAA is feeling this pain more so now, because whereas in the past, central administrations were partial to track and field, and, found ways to provide additional funding far beyond the usual yearly grant for the sport, that is not the case presently.
Also, past presidents of the BAAA were able to network with the Bahamas Government, and the Ministry of Sports. They got appreciable funding results. It was always a challenge, but the beat went on. Present BAAA President Drumeco Archer has obviously encountered a wall.
The timing is just not right for him.
Archer is at the helm of track and field when there is an extremely prudent finance minister in place. Reference, is to the Hon. K. Peter Turnquest. He is more determined to get as close as can be to a balanced budget, than his predecessors, mostly PMs. The PMs had obligations to a multitude of people and entities, so they came up with the funding when it seemed politically practical. Turnquest is
straight-laced, and very strict when it comes to spending. A strong case needs to be made to him for sports development. For sure, greater sports funding would resolve a lot of sporting issues. Sadly, too many sports leaders and supporters are being distracted by personality differences. They are missing the bigger issue.
Money would cure much of what ails sporting communities in the country.
All the bickering that is going on won’t solve the problems in sports. Minister Rolle had predecessors at the point for sports under respective governments. At some stage, she will be followed by another.
Greater sports funding will still be a priority.
That’s where the real focus should be.
• To respond to this column,kindly contact Fred Sturrup at firstname.lastname@example.org or on WhatsApp at 727-6363.