The goal of achieving 10 or more Olympic Gold medals by the year 2024 created debate. There were those who felt, and probably still do, that its unrealistic. They think that making the leap from two Olympic champions to 10 by 2024 is beyond real. Then there are those who understand that achieving that goal must first begin in the mind.
What comes next? Having accepted mentally that achieving 10 golds is possible and is not out of reach, the next step is how are we going to get those 10 or more gold medals. The Olympic Committee has conducted a survey and a follow up is now due. The survey and other research based sources are aimed at providing important data and analysis.
Budgets have to be done. Assessments,monitoring and evaluation. What are the targets and projections? These specific targets must be established within the context of a long term athlete development programme. Harnessing the abundant talent and potential can be done if there is a systematic approach. Winning medals are the end result of a systematic approach be it local or foreign.
When one considers the performances of T&T on the sporting stage in recent weeks. It’s about time that we put our collective energies to work. We can make a name a positive name for T&T on the global sport stage. I accept that based on all the economic experts T&T is facing a daunting economic future. The predictions are that who ever wins the upcoming national election must make some hard decisions.
That being so. There may well be the view that sport is surplus to requirements. It is hoped that this is not going to be the attitude towards sport. Give T&T sport a fighting chance. Double even triple the allocations to sport. But put in effective monitoring and evaluation systems. Get the key stakeholders involved. Let them say what they want.
The funny thing is that even as this column is calling to triple the allocation, we are mindful that certain changes require an attitudinal and mindset change more than a monetary one. It can be done. Lets give it a really good go. With one year to go to Rio Olympics lets put a huge effort behind a podium quest.
Lets aim to exceed the London 2012 medal count. Be not afraid of the challenge. Lets not be intimidated. Lets go for it. There is little margin for error with 365 days to go to Rio 2016. Let me take this opportunity to congratulate this country's Toronto 2015 Pan Am Games team, Soca Warriors and The Red Steel. They all lifted the spirits of a nation buffeted by an intolerable crime situation.
The joy that spreads through the nation because of the positive exploits on the field of sport is there for all to see. Time and time again sport has delivered. What more can sport do to prove its case? T&T, the dawn of a new golden era for sport is at hand. Lets not blow it because of short sightedness.
Brian Lewis is the president of the T&T Olympic Committee. The views expressed are not necessarily those of the Olympic Committee.
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