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Posted: Friday 10 May, 2024 at 2:32 PM

Balancing sports priority affecting the Sport of Swimming within the Federation

By: Jermine Abel,

    BASSETERRE, St. Kitts -- LOCAL swimmers have competed regionally and internationally, but they continue to be hindered by the lack of proper infrastructure to support their development and pursuit of excellence.


    Swimming has long sought proper recognition within the Federation, and recent achievements such as sending athletes to the CARIFTA Games in the Bahamas and competing in multiple FINA World Championships highlight the potential for increased attention to the sport from authorities.


    National Coach, James Weekes expressed disappointment over the absence of a proper training facility for young athletes. Currently, all national swimmers train in the Caribbean Sea using a makeshift setup.


    "We do not have a facility to train the kids them properly," Weekes stated. "The thing that we are faced with is that if it rains too much and the guts run into the sea we can't train. If the wind blow too much, waves get high, current gets strong, seaweed.  We can't train!"


    Weekes emphasized the need for improved infrastructure, urging those in authority to recognize the progress the sport has made in recent years and provide necessary support.


    "We are competing against federations with the right facilities," Weekes said. "Although we lack such resources, we still measure up against the best. This is a significant challenge for us."


    Weekes addressed concerns about the government’s prioritization of sports, noting that swimming offers unique benefits beyond athletic competition.


    "Swimming is not only a sport but also a necessity," he explained. "It saves lives and promotes a healthy lifestyle. If we had a proper facility, it would generate revenue by attracting international athletes during colder months and hosting events such as the CARIFTA Games."


    "Additionally, a high-quality facility would allow us to bid for major events, boosting the local economy and promoting the sport further," Weekes added. "It's important to look beyond short-term constraints and recognize the long-term benefits of investing in swimming infrastructure."


    The coach believes that providing local swimmers with proper facilities and resources will enable them to reach their full potential and further elevate the sport within the Federation."


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