Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : January 9th 2014 Contents A60
Guardian www.guardian.co.tt Thursday, January 9, 2014
Outstanding performances in track and field
from local athletes at regional and international
meets have not earned the sport renewed respect
from the local business fraternity says Ken Bar-
ton, head coach of Concorde Athletics Club.
While these athletes continue to energise this
country s reputation as a dynamic sporting
nation--be it at the Olympics, World Champi-
onships, the Caribbean and Central American
Championships and the Commonwealth Games--
the sporting administrator lamented that in the
eyes of the corporate community track and field
seemed to be a bastard child.
Barton said as an administrator he experienced
this first hand.
"Funding is very, very difficult; at least for
Concorde! You find sponsors (but) they will like
to sponsor football clubs. Anything for football
they will give. Track and Field is a little more
difficult and track and field really needs that.
We have been operating over the years with no
sponsor at all and we have been getting by, but
that doesn t mean we don t need a sponsor. If
we have a sponsor, we can attend some games
in Florida. Once we get that mechanism going,
to go to international meets. Concorde would
just soar!" he said.
"We need to draft a letter to the Ministry of
Sport to see if we can get some kind of assistance
with respect to sending athletes away. We could
train here. We have very good coaches here. If
we just have some athletes exposed to that inter-
national standard--and come home and still par-
ticipate in the games here--we could be big."
Following discussions with Ashwin Creed, the
permanent secretary in the Sports Ministry, Bar-
ton said a business plan was being developed by
his team for submission to the State agency, out-
lying the club s development strategy to reposition
Concorde as a progressive 27-year old institu-
In his review of Concorde s performance in
the 2013 season Barton described the perform-
ances of his athletes as "quite good".
"From the Carifta Sprint Day, we won three
out of the four races which was quite good. Most
of the women s event for the year, we have won.
It s only (the) national championships when the
big athletes came down that we were in the
finals, but we didn t really win. But during the
course of the year, our local woman have been
tops. My mission has always been to get the ath-
letes to do their best. We have a programme in
place for continuous improvement and we have
been doing that by and large. Athletes have gotten
better; times have improved. I try not to say let
us go for this game or that game--the nationals
I (am) talking about. We progress right through
the year. Having the objectives of the club realised
was becoming an ever greater challenge," said
"It has been more and more difficult every
year. It seems as though the world has been
changing. T&T has been changing. The youths
have been changing. Years ago, it was much
easier to train a young person. Now it is difficult
because now they are distracted with all kinds
of things: boyfriend, girlfriend, image and peer
pressure. So it is always different to keep them
on that track. Train, school, come back home?
No! It s school! It s pleasure! It s party! ...It is
stay home one or two days because we train hard
and those things really take away from success."
In a direct response, Barton has turned to the
club s accomplished athletes: John Mark Corey
Constantine the male "Athletes of the Year" and
Lisa Wickham, Concorde s top performing ath-
lete. They have been winning national events
and have represented T&T.
He said the club s management hoped top
athletes like Constantine, Wickham and Nikita
Paul, who was the top girl s athlete in the Under-
17 category, could serve as beacons for those
athletes that have not embraced the concepts
of discipline and commitment to training 100
per cent, despite issues related to peer pressure.
Concorde coach laments
lack of corporate support
Ken Barton, head
presents the top
athlete award to
Nikita Paul at the
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