It is cold in Lima, Peru, host city of the 2019 Pan Am Games. In fact, it is winter here in the South American nation.
The July/August window is the best option for any multi sport event hoping to attract the best track and field athletes. For South America that time slot is in their winter and a risk worth taking.
The Pan Am Games is a major event on the calender and it is always well supported by the 41 Pan Am Sport Organisation member countries. But if one is to be honest, the USA as an example may not send their absolute best track and field athletes, but for sure with the 2019 IAAF World Athletics championships in Doha, Qatar just around the corner, the Pan Am Games is for many a must attend.
For a number of other sports the Pan Am Games is a significant event. Increasingly the Pan Am Sport Organisation is doing a good job getting recognition as an Olympic qualifier.
For countries such as Trinidad and Tobago, the Pan Am Games is a serious land mark and stepping stone in the Olympic cycle.
It provides an excellent opportunity to assess where we are at. One of the huge challenges when you set a big goal such as 10 Olympic Gold medals by 2024, is that sign posts such as Pan Am Games can either build confidence or destroy it.
On establishing the goal of 10 or more Olympic medals by 2024, a transparent score board was created. There is no longer any place to hide. How are we going about achieving such a lofty goal? Do we have the resources? Are the systems and policies in place?
Given Trinidad and Tobago's history, why would such an objective even be considered? It just does not make any sense.
In setting any goal you have to embrace the truth that it will take a lot of hard work, but not just hardwork. Hardwork alone will not be sufficient.
But even more important than the willingness to work hard is the mindset and the attitude and self belief. That self belief is more invaluable than all the sand in the sea.
At times it seems as if we are happy just going through the motion and at the first sign of trouble we are ready to run and hide or jump ship.
10 Gold medals by year 2024 is realistic and achievable, not easy by any means. The real question to be asked is - are we encouraging our youth and young people to strive for greatness? There are too many people in Trinidad and Tobago who seem gleeful any time they have to tell you why you will fail. It is because they do not believe that it can be done.
So they enjoy telling you you will fail, it will never happen or can never happen.
I believe it is very important to always fight for what you believe. I remain steadfast in my belief that there are many more Olympic champions in Trinidad and Tobago. I believe that it is important to see in our youth and young people the potential that can be fulfilled.
I believe that for too long we have encouraged our youth and young people to deny their best self.
If by me being laughed at and criticised I am able to give our youth and young people who aspire to be an Olympic champion a safe space to dream, then it is well worth it.
Allow our youth and young people the space to dream.
Written by Brian Lewis ...
The views expressed are not necessarily those of the Trinidad and Tobago Olympic Committee or the Trinidad and Tobago Commonwealth Games Association.