Author: Jeevan A. Robinson - MNI Media | Date: 11 April 2018
MSR has gone global!
The attendance of the Montserrat track team at the 2018 Commonwealth Games in Australia highlights the power of sport towards bringing a community of people together.
Over the past days, displays of national pride have been at fever pitch as TEAM MONTSERRAT represented their island during the various track and field events at the 2018 Gold Coast Games down under.
No member of a team is more important than the other for sure, as a team is the sum of all its parts. However, I would be remiss if did not make special mention, and give optimum regard to the track starts in Julius Morris, Shernyl Burns, Lester Ryan, Johmari Lee, A. J Lee, Darren Morson, Lavon Allen, and their entire company.
The efforts they have put forward over the last days in Australia did not result in gold medals thus far for themselves individually, and more extensively for Montserrat. However, beyond the achievement of medals, the ability to compete on such a big stage with athletes from all corners of the globe, and yet make an impression is quite commendable.
Coach Scotland who is also with the team in Australia, has been at this for many years. In him they have a coach who is trained and dedicated towards getting the best out of his athletes. Track stars such as Morris have the additional benefit of further international exposure via his USA track connections through the Western Kentucky University (WKU) he attends.
Writing about Morris in the WKU sports online publication; their headline read; "HILLTOPPER MORRIS NARROWLY MISSES COMMONWEALTH GAMES FINALS"
The piece on Morris also went on to say; "WKU senior Julius Morris ran in the semifinals of the 200-meter dash at the Gold Coast 2018 Commonwealth Games early Wednesday morning and just missed the cutoff to advance to the finals....In order to qualify for the finals, competitors had to finish in the top two of their heat. After those six runners were determined, the next two fastest times were chosen to advance. Morris held the fourth fastest time after the top two.
Advancing to the semifinals in GC2018 was the furthest Morris had advanced in any world competition including the 2014 Commonwealth Games and the 2015 and 2017 World Championships."
For Montserrat, the focus must most certainly now be on the future. The hope is that this national outpouring of support for the track team helps to build some momentum for sports and track and field events on the island that has been somewhat dimmed.
We have seen how countries like Jamaica, Cayman Islands, Bahamas, Grenada, Trinidad & Tobago, Barbados, St Kitts & Nevis, St Lucia and others have championed their track stars and given them the support and encouragement required beyond and after the lights of the competition have been switched off.
So too, Montserrat must actively encourage that even more global exposure be afforded to these local athletes towards being the ultimate promoters of brand Montserrat.
There was some chatter during the period of the athlete's preparations in Australia regarding matters of hype and governmental support. I stayed away from those discussions as the timing in my view was not opportune. I felt the time for post-mortems to discuss such matters would have presented itself after the games were completed, but during the period of the athletes preparing to compete, what they needed above and beyond all else was to hear only positive messages that all their countrymen and women both at home and abroad were behind them. Not that there was a heated social media argument over how they were hyped or not being hyped prior to them taking the field.
As stated prior, I agree that now, Montserrat should collectively look at how it encourages, supports and indeed hype the island's athletes. There is a part not just the Sports Department to play, but also Tourism Division and private enterprise can get onboard Team Montserrat via sponsorship, image signings for advertisements and other such modes of support that will boost the athlete's morale even more towards being ultimate winners on the track for Montserrat.
Team Montserrat did everyone proud. They are to be commended for their effort despite all the challenges faced. Now it is for the island to figure out how to prolong and generate more interest in track and field and push young children with talent and promise to be aspirants towards being named on a "Team Montserrat" of the future.
I must make special mention here to media personality and Journalist, Ben Meade, who is also on assignment at the 2018 Commonwealth Games in Australia. Meade's reports and adept photography has served to keep everyone informed on this side of the world. His attendance and showing at the games is yet another reason for national pride to prevail.
Well done to everyone presently at Gold Coast Australia 2018.
Note: Jeevan A. Robinson is Editor-in-Chief and Head of Business Development at Marketing, News & Information Media - MNI Media. He can be reached at email@example.com