Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : August 16th 2017 Contents sports A47
Wednesday, August 16, 2017 guardian.co.tt
On sporting celebrations and support
Trinidad and Tobago made history
on Sunday by winning the 4x400m
relay gold at the 2017 IAAF World
Championships in London.
It was our second medal, follow-
ing Jereem "The Dream" Richards
bronze in the men's 200m event---
and our best showing at a World
Games in 20 years.
We have plenty to celebrate, but
before we spend more time calling
for another holiday, while criticising
the athletes who didn't medal, there
are a few things we should consider.
Medals don't come overnight. All
of us have to do a better job at sup-
porting our athletes through thick
and thin. Donate your time, your
skills and yes, YOUR money. Go to
the NAAA Championships in the
stadium, buy an official Team TTO
jersey, play the 'Going for Gold'
scratch game. Be the 12th man for our
athletes in every sport from football
to track and field, cycling,field hock-
ey, volleyball and swimming.
When Machel Cedenio anchored
TeamTTO to Pan-American relay
gold in the 4x400 in 2015, he said he
heard the cheers of the 20 "Trinis"
in the stands chanting his name,
willing him to come from behind to
win. Stop saying that the Govern-
ment needs to do more. I know we
hate taxes so I won't dare suggest the
government follow the UK's lottery
funding model, but the reality is if
10,000 people donated $5.00 a
month that would be a $50,000 a
month/$600,000 a year in support.
The Trinidad and Tobago Olympic
Committee (TTOC) Athlete Welfare
and Support Fund provides medal
bonuses and other services to our
athletes when they win. Make that
feeling of pride when you heard the
national anthem play on Interna-
tional TV last night count.
Finally, ease up on the negativity
when our athletes don't win medals,
especially if you know you're only ca-
pable of beer bicep curls and 'selfie'
Create something worthwhile, and
corporate T&T's coins will come.
Like us, they can be risk-averse
The reality is that we're in a down
economy where marketing budgets
are often the first to get cut. Plain talk,
bad manners, our National Sporting
Organizations (NSOs) and athletes
need to position themselves better.
Businesses exist to create value for
their shareholders. The challenge
then is to create 'products' that cor-
porations want to get behind, either
because they fit into existing Corpo-
rate Social Responsibility initiatives,
or because they have the potential to
attract new customers and value to
the bottom line.
It is not solely the private sector's
responsibility to create a sustainable
sport industry. We do however need
entrepreneurs and corporations who
are passionate about sport and willing to
make small investments that can make the
world of difference. This can include do-
nating part proceeds of a popular Carnival
fete, partnering with an NSO to create a
unique event and splitting the profits, or
simply donating a percentage of the sales
of a popular product on Independence Day
to an NSO of your choice.
Support the Trinidad and Tobago
Olympic Committee. Of all the sporting
organisations in T&T, they have shown
themselves to be forward thinking, athlete
centred and committed to finding ways to
build a sustainable sporting industry. In
recent times they have launched a line of
jerseys, a "text to donate" campaign sur-
rounding the Rio Olympics and the Going
for Gold game with the National Lotteries
Control Board. I look forward to the new
campaigns that president Brian Lewis
hinted at recently on Twitter, because
we do need quick and easy ways to do-
nate through text, credit cards and cause
marketing initiatives tied to campaigns
that remind us of the power of sport to
inspire a nation.
Stop playing politics with sport. Our
athletes and their sporting successes
should not be political pawns to buy votes.
We need a comprehensive vision for sport
development backed by clearly defined
policies and incentives.
At the elite level we need a targeted
approach, built in performance metrics
and a sustainable reward programme that
includes our paralympic champions.
The beauty of sport lies in its unpre-
dictability but we cannot wait until we
win to plan for the future and or inspire
a generation. The future starts now. Every
effort should be made to administer pro-
grammes and disperse funds in a trans-
parent fashion, because we can't afford
another LifeSport debacle.
Thank our national athletes. Our ath-
letes represent the best of us by exercising
a level of discipline and commitment that
should be respected and admired. On be-
half of an ungrateful nation, thank you!
That being said, it is unfortunate that
we don't see or hear from many of you
unless you're bemoaning the lack of fi-
nancial support available. I know you
work very hard, but many of your fellow
Please stop asking for holidays when
you win. Another public holiday on an
event calendar that's littered with them
does nothing to improve national produc-
tivity, help you get a medal bonus and or
reduce the rates of obesity, heart disease
and diabetes that keep driving up national
healthcare costs. Costs that undoubtedly
impact the level of support the Govern-
ment is able to allocate to other sectors
including sport. If, on the other hand,
you want a fitness inspired celebration
at schools across the country, or want
to lend your celebrity status to a fitness
themed brunch party to raise funds for
other athletes and or worthy causes, there
are plenty of event committees, public
relations and marketing people that can
help you do it.
As we bask in the success of Sunday's
victory, let it serve as a reminder that all
of us need to work harder and smarter to-
gether if we are to achieve more podium
successes. For once, let's pay more than
token lip-service to the words, together
we aspire, together we achieve.
Corporate Communications Consultant
FIFA CIES Diploma Sport Management
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