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A pinch of respect, dignity please

Tuesday, February 20, 2018

The T&T Olympic Committee is relentless in its fight to overcome obstacles of culture, mindset and attitude while continuing on the path of being people-centred and athlete-centred which begins with respect for sport and for the positive difference sport delivers in the lives of young people.

Success for the T&T Olympic Committee is empowering them to build a future doing what they love and developing a body of work of which they can be proud.

Making T&T proud will always be at the forefront of the T&T Olympic Committee vehicle of Olympism.

Respect for sport and those involved in sport is not a linear progression.

Culture plays a big part. There is a culture of disrespect and fundamental misunderstanding of where the different stakeholders fit in the sport ecosystem based on a colonial mindset of who is boss.

Recently the visible evidence of the misunderstanding of roles became embarrassingly stark and public when Richard Thompson was on the receiving end of correspondence from the Ministry of Sport and Youth Affairs that could be perceived as a lack of respect for his Olympic achievement.

There is an age old saying - It is not what you say, but how you say it.

The Elite Athlete Assistance Programme is not a stick.

The economic recession battering T&T is not an excuse to treat anyone with a lack of dignity, empathy and respect nor should it portend a decline of our humanity.

Resolving conflict ought not to descend into an orgy of bacchanal.

While the focus at this time maybe on Richard Thompson it's not only athletes and other sport stakeholders that, at times, feel disrespected. In the main, the lack of a concept of service and how to be service-oriented must be addressed across many sectors.

T&T must embrace service and being service-oriented as fundamental to the diversification of our economy since there are difficult and challenging times, but we must respect each other's right to voice concerns.

T&T can always depend on sport to deliver in a positive manner. Achieving an Olympic or World championship medal is not an easy or simple endeavour and it must not be taken for granted. The world is currently watching the 23rd edition of the Winter Olympics in Peyongchang displaying athletes who are at the pinnacle of their sport and their stories of dedication, grit, disappointment and achievement are inspiring to the ear. The athletes' road is often a lonely one, a painful one, a disappointing one.

All that sport stakeholders ask for at a minimum in return is respect and dignity in good times and bad times.

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