Commonwealth Games - Solomon Star News

Commonwealth Games

12 August 2014

Dear Editor - May I please have some space in your column to comment on the above. Lately you have reported on Team Solomon's participation at the recent Commonwealth Games.

One thing that was obvious from your report was how our team officials lamented about meeting the Queen and other high-ranking officials of the Games.

Little or nothing was said about the performances of our athletes, what lessons they have learnt to help them prepare for future competitions, what steps we as a country could take to boost sports development in our country and so on and so forth.

One wonders therefore why we send teams to such Games. Do officials and athletes go to such Games simply to meet VIPs or do they go to compete in sports?

Do we send officials and athletes simply for the experience or do we send them to compete and aim to win medals?

After our country has attended a number of Games (Pacific, Commonwealth & Olympic) we should by now be able to understand what is needed to do well at the highest level.

Some of our officials have been to several Games. One of them loves to "meet" and take photos with VIPs. If a medal is ever awarded for meeting and greeting VIPs, perhaps he would have won a Gold medal by now.

Surely all the lessons some of those officials have learnt in the past should have given our athletes some advantage and knowledge to excel. Yet there was nothing to show from Glasgow.

What is the Sports Council doing to encourage and develop sporting excellence? Where are the official reports from the Chef de Mission of past Games so that future teams can learn from our poor performances in the past?

Surely if the Government is spending a lot of money on sports, the tax-payers have a right to demand some accountability from those "tourists" who have attended those Games. Or is sports another area of corruption in this country?

By contrast Kiribati and Nauru, two countries smaller than us have won a Gold and a Silver medal respectively at Glasgow. Those two countries do not have sports facilities better than us.

Yet they had athletes with passion and pride for their countries. Maybe in future we should send our athletes and officials to Kiribati and Nauru to learn a few lessons from them.

Next year we will have the Pacific Games. In 2016, it will be the Olympic Games. If we continue on with the same trend and send tourists then maybe Team Solomon should comprise only employees of the Ministry of Tourism and Visitors' Bureau.

At least they will carry out tourism promotional work for our country. Hence any taxpayers' funding will be well spent.

Enough of sending tourists to such Games. Why not use our limited resources to develop sports and physical education in our own country.

Even if we don't win medals in our domestic programmes, the greatest benefit is that we will have a healthy population.

Yames Kaka