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May 26, 2020

OpEd: The IOC Stands in Solidarity With All Athletes and All Sports

Much has been written lately about the International Olympic Committee (IOC)’s finances. Some of these…
May 26, 2020

Stellar example Duncan teaches art of adaptability

Marcus Duncan knows how to adapt to different circumstances. While other athletes have suffered because…
May 24, 2020

Chow remains focused Olympic rower trains harder during lockdown

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May 23, 2020

TTOC President Lewis claims cancellation of Tokyo 2020 would put NOCs in "a big hole"

Trinidad and Tobago Olympic Committee (TTOC) President Brian Lewis claimed the cancellation of the Tokyo…
May 22, 2020

Lewis: Olympic cancellation not good for NOCs

Brian Lewis, president of the T&T Olympic Committee says a great number of National Organising…
May 18, 2020

Mother of invention Athlete Talks, Ultimate Garden Clash born out of Covid-19

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May 18, 2020

Lewis: We need a culture change

SELF REFLECTION and culture change during the current downtime are the primary elements which can…

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The Com­mon­wealth’s 53 mem­ber coun­tries have a com­bined pop­u­la­tion of over two bil­lion, and more than 60 per cent of these peo­ple are un­der 30 years of age.

As the lead­ers and shapers of to­mor­row, young peo­ple are true as­sets to their coun­tries’ de­vel­op­ment and have an im­por­tant role to play in sus­tain­ing the Com­mon­wealth’s val­ues – for ex­am­ple, gen­der equal­i­ty and tol­er­ance, re­spect and un­der­stand­ing.

Youths are the back­bone of a so­ci­ety and hence they de­ter­mine the fu­ture of any giv­en so­ci­ety. This is be­cause all oth­er age groups, the kids, teenagers, mid­dle-aged and the se­nior cit­i­zens re­ly on the youth and ex­pect a lot from them. It ap­plies in the busi­ness and sport­ing world. It’s an im­por­tant age group in both to­day's so­ci­ety and the fu­ture so­ci­ety than oth­er age groups. There­fore, due to the high de­pen­dence on youth in the so­ci­ety, the youth have a crit­i­cal role to play be­cause the fu­ture of our fam­i­lies, com­mu­ni­ties and the coun­try lies in their hands.

For any coun­try to suc­ceed, it needs to be ed­u­cat­ed, well in­formed and re­spon­si­ble lead­ers. The youth have to cor­rect the mis­takes and short­com­ings of the pre­vi­ous lead­ers and com­plete­ly change the out­look of that par­tic­u­lar so­ci­ety.

Last week an in­spec­tion team vis­it­ed this coun­try to in­spect our bid for the 2021 Com­mon­wealth Youth Games af­ter com­plet­ing a site vis­it last week to Gibral­tar. If it comes to these shores, it would be the biggest youth event of its kind since the FI­FA Un­der 17 Men’s World Cup in 2001 and the U-17 Women’s World Cup in 2010.

The third edi­tion of the Com­mon­wealth Youth Games held in Pune, In­dia in 2008, saw over 1,220 ath­letes and 350 of­fi­cials from 71 coun­tries par­tic­i­pat­ed in nine dis­ci­plines. The last Com­mon­wealth Youth Games was held in Nas­sau, Ba­hamas with 1,034 par­tic­i­pants from 65 coun­tries and the sport­ing dis­ci­plines of Ath­let­ics, Swim­ming, Beach foot­ball, Box­ing, Cy­cling (Road), Ju­do, Rug­by Sev­ens, Ten­nis and Beach Vol­ley­ball were con­test­ed.

Al­though there are cur­rent­ly 53 mem­bers of the Com­mon­wealth of Na­tions, 71 teams cur­rent­ly par­tic­i­pate in the Com­mon­wealth Games, as a num­ber of de­pen­dent ter­ri­to­ries com­pete un­der their own flags. The four Home Na­tions of the Unit­ed King­dom—Eng­land, Scot­land, Wales, and North­ern Ire­land—al­so send sep­a­rate teams.

It is left to be seen what eco­nom­ic ben­e­fits will ar­rive if T&T does host these games but one thing's for sure, there will be no short­age of sport tourism op­por­tu­ni­ties for our twin-is­land.

All kinds of sports at­tract fa­nat­i­cal sup­port, both at the event and at homes of par­tic­i­pat­ing coun­tries, and there are both eco­nom­ic and so­cial ben­e­fits on a na­tion­al and re­gion­al lev­el from host­ing sports events, the vis­it­ing sports­men and women, their sup­port teams and sup­port­ers. Not on­ly are there the di­rect ben­e­fits of the mon­ey spent to pro­vide these events and the mon­ey spent by those par­tic­i­pat­ing but there are the in­di­rect ben­e­fits of in­creased em­ploy­ment in pro­vid­ing the ser­vices, im­proved in­fra­struc­ture to ex­ist­ing ones, ac­com­mo­da­tion, ameni­ties and the growth and de­vel­op­ment that po­ten­tial­ly con­tin­ues as a re­sult of such events.

Once a sport­ing event such as these games is booked, our tourism bod­ies will now need to en­cour­age vis­i­tors to not on­ly vis­it for the event but to ex­plore the area as a hol­i­day or busi­ness des­ti­na­tion. Many des­ti­na­tions have be­come adept at of­fer­ing pack­ages to fit a va­ri­ety of sport­ing op­tions.

Like oth­er coun­tries have been do­ing, it is im­por­tant that na­tion­al tourist Au­thor­i­ties and Boards un­der­stand that sports events are cur­rent­ly the biggest ve­hi­cle of pro­mo­tion for the whole ter­ri­to­ry and a won­der­ful oc­ca­sion to present the des­ti­na­tion and many dif­fer­ent tourist prod­ucts be­yond the main rea­son for the trip, the sport­ing event it­self.

The role of the youth is sim­ply to re­new, re­fresh and main­tain and these games will serve as an ide­al op­por­tu­ni­ty for them to be in the spot­light. And I’m not just talk­ing about the ath­letes but al­so the host of vol­un­teers and work­ing of­fi­cials who will have an op­por­tu­ni­ty to serve as a renowned glob­al sport­ing event.

Some of the most mem­o­rable mo­ments in our life­times will be sports re­lat­ed. These are events that stay with us, that give us a com­mon in­ter­est, that give young peo­ple he­roes to as­pire to be like. It is a price­less right to see adults give their time freely to help young peo­ple achieve their dreams; in turn, these same young peo­ple help the fol­low­ing gen­er­a­tions. The lo­cal foot­ball, ath­let­ics, crick­et and oth­er sport­ing clubs, for ex­am­ple, are of­ten at the heart of our com­mu­ni­ties where adults and young peo­ple come to­geth­er to com­pete, where friend­ships are made and am­bi­tions are re­alised.

Youth have a role to re­new and re­fresh the cur­rent sta­tus of our so­ci­ety in­clud­ing lead­er­ship, in­no­va­tions, skills etc they have al­so to main­tain the cul­ture of our cul­ture and all good val­ues in the so­ci­eties. Let’s start the cam­paign from now.

Ed­i­tor's Note:

Shaun Fuentes is the head of TTFA Me­dia. He is a for­mer FI­FA Me­dia Of­fi­cer at the 2010 FI­FA World Cup in South Africa. He is al­so cur­rent­ly a CON­CA­CAF Com­pe­ti­tions Me­dia Of­fi­cer and has trav­elled ex­ten­sive­ly, ex­pe­ri­enc­ing and learn­ing from dif­fer­ent cul­tures and lifestyles be­cause of sport and me­dia over the past nine­teen years. He is al­so a cer­ti­fied me­dia train­er for ath­letes.