OPINION: The reality of UG and Track and Field


By Treiston Joseph

Right off the bat I will just hit you with a hard dose of reality; track and field development and the University of Guyana (UG) do not go hand in hand.

I say this because, the fact is any athlete hoping that the University of Guyana will allow them to become well-rounded individuals with regard to a successful academic and athletic life will be in for the shock of their lives.

The University of Guyana does not have the provision for athletes to train and still attend classes in a timely manner. Hence, classes clash with training time, thus putting athletes in a position to choose between academics and athletics.

In other words, UG’s academic curriculum does not cater to the development of track and field athletes.

One of the things that saddened me was learning that Guyana’s World Championships Under-18 silver medallist Daniel Williams, who is now attending the University of Guyana to study Computer Science, a move that is deemed commendable by the athlete’s individual aspiration for academic development.

However, I also learnt that Williams is already in a predicament where his training time will be cut considerably short because of the time clashes; while for the moment having to train unsupervised since he hails from the Mining Town of Linden.

This can possibly only mean one thing, a period of stagnation in terms of development, but let’s stick a pin just here for the moment.

This notion of aiding athletes to attend the University on scholarships by the National Sports Commission (NSC) and even the Guyana Olympic Association (GOA) is extremely counterproductive if the aim is to develop great athletes.

It is not to say that academic development is unimportant, but new channels for such development needs to be explored and the University of Guyana when it comes to track and field is not one of those channels.

Therefore, to the NSC and GOA , I say take time to analyse the best possible course for development for track and field athletes and to be honest anything to do with the University of Guyana will just look like a publicity stunt to those that understand the system within the institution.

Sports Policy needed

To the University of Guyana, the lack of vision that is displayed with regard to establishing a system that will aid the development of our sportsmen and women is unfathomable, especially when looking at Colleges and Universities around the world in the 21st Century.

These institutions thrive off a buzzing sports system that is intertwined with their academic curriculum and one can easily point to the collegiate circuit in the United States of America (USA).

Such systems can only aid athletes like Williams, who has the ability to succeed both academically and athletically. Often times, the system has failed our athletes but as Henry Ford once said, “Failure is the opportunity to begin again more intelligently.”  

It is time to fix such situations; especially within the framework of the University of Guyana, athletes should not be forced to always migrate in an effort to continue their track career while building their academic life. 

Since 1963, the University of Guyana has been in operation and for 55 years the same tactics are being employed with regard to sport, now that is an atrocity in itself. Fix it!

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