Nationals – where stars are born, but what’s next? Coach Andy Medas King says proper development programme needed for athletes locally

January 15, 2021

Modern day, sport materialises as a vital ingredient of Socio-economic development of a country. Active participation in sports improves community health and productivity, reduces visits to the doctor, instills discipline, produces capable leaders, and enhances social cohesion. Sport has a huge role to play when it comes to nation-building; it can bring the people together and it is important that a nation have healthy people. That’s why it is vital to educate, inform and implement strategies and developmental programmes in sports that focus on long-term athlete development and not short-term success.

There is no doubt that Guyana has an abundance of talent when it comes to sport, but while in some disciplines athletes have gone on to greater heights, in others they just bow out after the age group level, despite showing lots of promise.
The Ministry of Education and the Guyana Teachers Union national schools’ cycling, swimming and track and field championship is of paramount importance to this nation as it provides the young athletes with an opportunity to showcase their talent and set the stage for their career. The athletes performing at this championship represent the cream of Guyana’s junior athletics community, but after performing so well at this meet, many athletes go unheard of for various reasons. Certainly the discipline of athletes and the will to train hard and succeed at higher levels is one question that will come to mind.
It is a known fact that elite athletes have invested many years in training and competition to reach the elite level.
Despite there being numerous alleyways toward achieving elite athletic performance in adulthood, the commitment of these athletes might be best established through the amount of time spent on training. They can also create a sense of oneness. It is of paramount importance that sporting organisations implement developmental programmes to take care of senior athletes.
While a number of athletes take up scholarships overseas to further their studies and enhance their career, others find themselves into local clubs to ply their trade. But what is there to help local athletes achieve maximum performances at higher levels (after school level); of course adequate funds are a prerequisite.
Kaieteur Sport spoke with overseas based Guyanese athletic coach Andy Medas King and sought his views on the development of athletic sport in here.
King informed that he has a number of local athletes under his radar in New York who journeyed there for the New Balance Nationals; one of the largest high school track and field meets around the globe. “Having been one of the most successful coaches in New York, I choose to help the athletes in Guyana because I want to give them a chance to showcase their talent. Back home the Athletic Association of Guyana (AAG) and some coaches would give the athletes a ‘hard-time’ if they seek to develop their talent elsewhere, which I find strange.

“One athlete who has qualified for the Carifta games was told by local authorities that if that athlete goes to the USA, the athlete will not be going to the Carifta games (now postponed).”
“Every year I would host a meet in Guyana dubbed the “King Medas Pansy Adonis track meet” at Lusignan. This meet is not sanctioned by the AAG because they want to dictate my show and I do not allow that; running a meet is not part of sanctioning it. So the AAG would advise the athletes not to take part in my meet in which I usually hand out prizes to the top 10. Every year I would take along a prominent Jamaican coach to overlook my meet which caters for athletes from nursery to masters. The AAG don’t scout talent and this is one area where they need to pick up.”
“Guyana is the only country that I know where athletes 8 years and under run 1k and less. My meet is compatible with the US where athletes receive grants which helps them with their education etc.”
“Popular Jamaican coach Glenn Mills who coached Jamaican superstar Usain Bolt, told me to go the schools while another Jamaican Cynthia Cooke is the individual who would plan my meet,” said the coach.
He went on, “The AAG has no developmental programme in place and meets are not being held in Guyana on a regular basis, so athletes usually find it very difficult to progress after the age group level. When you look at countries like Jamaica, they would send a large number of athletes to schools in the USA and Canada; they would also host regular meets.

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Source: Kaieteur News