I have long been an ardent supporter of almost any form of sport. I have admired the feats and accomplishments of the likes of Carl Hooper, Shivnaraine Chanderpaul and Ramnaresh Sarwan in the area of cricket.
However, I have a major grievance when it comes to showering professional sportsmen with national awards. We should remember that professional sportsmen are paid hefty salaries and this is their means of a living. Like any other job, if they don’t perform, they lose their places.
I can recall that when Allen Stanford started the 20/20 competition, I wrote to him suggesting that he should only include players who were not current West Indian cricketers. The reason behind this was to give the lesser known players across the region the opportunity not only to partake, but to excel and earn beyond their present potential.
I think that national and other sports awards should only be bestowed upon sportsmen that venture into sports at an amateur level, and not on a professional basis. Once he or she turns professional and a living is being derived from that sport, then that individual should not qualify for such awards. Imagine if the Olympics were to allow professional boxers to take part, what would become of the amateur boxers.
As much as we want to recognize the achievements of our professional sportsmen, it is the little and less well-known amateurs who should be rewarded for outstanding performances. What would we have left to offer in the future if a Guyanese were to bring home an Olympic medal, moreso a gold one.