Mauritius Athletics post London Olympics 2012
Athletes from Mauritius who took part in the recent Olympics in London should be very proud of the fact that, at least, in spite of all odds they met the required minima to represent their country. The ladies who represented Mauritius in Beach Volley should be congratulated and encouraged since they got many headlines in the leading international media outlets and got very favourable coverage as underdogs.
However, the internal fights between some members of the delegation on British soil were disgusting. Anyway athletes should have noted that winners get all the attention and media focus. The country should be thinking of global branding possibilities through world glory, through sports as well.
One should recall that Mauritius over the past decade has done well on the international arena after athletes were given the chance to improve their skills through scholarships in places like Senegal, US and France.
There were hard working volunteers with passion like Yves Fanchette, former Minister of Sports Michael Glover, regretted Myrna Lapierre, Vivian Gangaram amongst others. Like in other countries not much can be expected in terms of creative input by bureaucrats to help athletes improve themselves. So what next ?
It should also be noted that several of the athletes who clinched medals are nationals of small island states like Trinidad, Bahamas, Jamaica and Granada. So those from Mauritius do have hope. They should be asking themselves what would it take to reach those levels. “Impossible” should be banned from their lexicon.
Most countries have already started preparing with specific targets for the coming Rio Olympics which is just less than 1800 days away. India has set up a target of at least 15 medals. Trinidad and Tobago which got four medals in London, has set up a 2 million dollar fund jointly with the help of the private sector to help improve physical abilities of potential Olympic medal winning athletes for the next four years. In India, a badminton player who got a bronze medal was given a brand new car by the Andra Badminton Association.
Athletes tend to be Icons for the youth. Mauritius badly needs some new young icons of the likes of successful athletes like Stephan Buckland, Judex Lefou, regretted Maryse Justin, Marie Lourdes Allysamba… in a country where some social ills are taking alarming heights at rapid pace. Many of those mentioned came from very poor family backgrounds.
Athletes have the coming Commonwealth games in two years and then the Olympics. The situation for better performance should be managed as a project, as a business venture – on time, with specific targets. Intelligence monitoring as what others are doing worldwide can as well form part of the game plan.
One of the many tragedies of Mauritius relates to the fact that a foreign born lady married to a Mauritian national who has won international honours is still waiting for bureaucracy to deliver to her documents which would qualify her to compete as a citizen of Mauritius in Rio in a new discipline. Unlucky for Mauritius in two months she is competing in a world championship in Ireland in the Jersey of her native country ! It could have been the one only Jersey from Mauritius.
The other tragedy relates to a native of Mauritius who recently won an international championship and who still travels by bus. Had he taken another country’s citizenship like say Qatar or US his material situation would be surely much better. Another tragedy relates to the fact that the world class sports infrastructure network, built at a cost of over half a billion rupees for the last Indian Ocean games, are highly underutilized. The greatest tragedy is that no one is shocked in Mauritius on the above mentioned tragedies.
It would serve no purpose to take stock of the situation on a post hoc basis after Rio but preempt and act to take a piece of the global glory in the name of the country. More so the games will be telecast at a peak time for the American audience. Business people and journalists do have the mindset and training to undertake that as well all the time. May be they can be asked to help Mauritius achieve new heights in international sports glory.
Tags: athletes, london, mauritius, olympics