|Kaina Martinez, gold medal in 100m and 200m, and silver medal in Long Jump at Central American Games 2010||Tricia Flores, gold medal and new Central American Games record, 5.97m, in Long Jump|
We have said before, that in sports, Belize is the sleeping giant of Central America. Again and again, in athletics we have proven that our athletes have the talent and the work ethic, and our coaches have the knowledge and dedication. Against tremendous odds of infrastructure handicaps, they still manage to achieve excellence. More of our athletes could excel if those handicaps did not exist.
It is proven – we have the talent. We can run the fastest and jump the farthest in Central America; but in team sports our record continues to be mediocre at best. A lot of political lip service (blue and red) and a pathetic deficiency in infrastructural and financial “backative” is the institutional “foot on the neck”, holding down our “sleeping giant”.
Tricia Flores and Kaina Martinez stood tall and proud as Queens in their category before all of Central America in the 9th Central American Games in Panama. In their individual events they had made personal sacrifices and worked hard to prepare themselves as best they could. They were that talented, that their efforts and that of their coaches paid off with success at the Games.
The lesson of Tricia and Kaina to our Belizean youth is that, if you put your mind and your heart to it, you can achieve. Both are expected to graduate from the University of Belize (UB) later this year.
But the tragedy for our Belizean youth, is that Tricia and Kaina are brilliant exceptions to the rule – immensely talented and blessed with personal courage, conviction, ambition and guidance from dedicated and qualified experts in their sport; and theirs is an individual sport. Many of our youth need to be nurtured a whole lot more, in order to develop that personal pride, courage, conviction and ambition; and for the vast majority of them, it is rare to encounter dedicated and qualified experts who can give guidance in their particular sport. This is further complicated by the fact that most of our athletes are involved in team sports. The system is failing our Belizean athletes. Tricia and Kaina are our Queens today, because they have overcome, despite the failing system. Their achievement and their example give us hope as a people, that we can still achieve, if we begin to put things right, and do things right by our youths and our talented athletes.
Hail to Kaina; hail to Tricia – our athletic Queens of 2010!
Story courtesy Amandala | Photos courtesy Charles X Hyde