Good initiative but questions, questions, questions….

The decision by the Guyana Olympic Association (GOA) to give a monthly stipend to a number of athletes and coaches must be commended.

It speaks of a commitment and a desire by the GOA for improved performances by the nation’s athletes at local and international meets.

The GOA had in the past taken an initiative to give a monthly stipend to   a few amateur boxers but only the GOA and the amateur boxing association can say how that initiative went but one would like to hazard a guess that it has apparently fallen by the wayside.

One would hope that this new initiative has a much longer shelf life.

According to the GOA, it will dole out annually approximately $18m to athletes and coaches from 10 disciplines so that the athletes and coaches can fully concentrate on their goals.

Whatever that means or whatever those goals are is not clear at this point but a perusal of the list will see that an effort was made to provide funding to the top athletes and coaches although in some instances this was not achieved.

What is not clear at this point is how were the athletes and coaches selected.

Was there a set of criteria sent out by the GOA to all the associations/federations or were the associations/federations allowed to select whoever they felt like?

Were the selections made by a selection committee or were they made by individual persons, perhaps the president or the secretary?

Were the decisions ratified by the respective associations or were some of the members of the associations oblivious of what transpired?

Did the GOA vet the selections or did they accept willy nilly the persons chosen?

The GOA needed to give the associations clear cut guidelines in selecting the athletes/coaches so as to negate accusations of favouritism and nepotism.

The GOA did say that they will expend annually around $18m for the programme but can the GOA say how much money they will receive from the IOC’s Olympic Solidarity Programme towards this venture and whether all of it will be utilised?

How were the disciplines selected and why?  Were they selected to prepare for upcoming engagements such as the Commonwealth Games?

Also it is difficult to fathom how three members from one family can be included in the list of a particular sport. What was the criteria used here?

Should a parent be paid for coaching his or her child or should coaching in such instances be more of a parental responsibility?

These are questions that the public needs answers to and one hopes that the GOA and the associations can send some more light on this new initiative.

According to the GOA, specific conditions and requirements are to be fulfilled before the athletes/coaches receive the stipends which will be paid out bi-monthly and which range from $20,000 to $60,000.

This is heartening for one would hate to think that the coaches or the athletes in some instances see the money as a handout to be used however they see fit.

One of the problems coaches complained about was the fact that they had in the past used their own money to get to training venues to coach national teams and to provide meals for themselves and sometimes their charges.

One would hope that they money would be used now to offset transportation and other expenses.

It must be noted that a number of the athletes are based overseas and it will be interesting to know how they will receive the funding and whether that funds will be adequate taking into consideration the exchange rate of the US dollar to Guyana’s.

One is also not clear of the role of the coaches whether the coaches named are there to coach the athletes in question or whether their roles are general in nature.

One would hope that the GOA and the associations understand the importance of identifying proper role models to serve as coaches.

Coaching is serious business and there is no place for persons whose main skills are to spin a basketball with a stick on their noses while lying flat on their backs at the Sports Hall or to spout incessant nonsense  and engage in buffoonery  that make little or no sense to the young impressionable minds out there.

Given the current sex abuse scandal involving USA gymnastics it is even more imperative that coaches have the proper character and temperament as their role is not only to instill the right techniques in their charges, and carry out the programmes of their associations/federations, but they must also ensure that they help in instilling in the athlete, the right character traits necessary for off the field behaviour.

Also one would have hoped that heads of associations, who also double as coaches, would have seen it fit not to have their names included on the list but instead offer to volunteer their services in the interest of the development of the sport.

In closing there are a number of athletes and coaches more deserving to be on that list than some who are on the list.

Pray tell, what is the GOA going to do about that?

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