The Turks and Caicos Islands Sports Commission will be hosting a two-day Long-Term Athletes Development (LTAD) Symposium at the Gustarvus Lightbourne Sports Complex on Friday, June 17 and Saturday, June 18.
The symposium is a three-pronged initiative, according to Deputy Director of Sports, Alvin Parker, who said one aspect of the event is to assist federations to develop a well-crafted roadmap catering to athletes’ development, the other is to solicit sponsorship begin an Athlete Development Fund and the third is to get athletes’ parents to play a greater role, especially in their nutrition.
One of the presenters for the event is slated to be David Farmer, former Director, Olympic Academy at Barbados Olympic Association, and is also a FINA Instructor. The other presenter is Dr. Colin Higgs of Canadian Long-Term Athlete Development Expert Group.
“They are world-renowned and world respected. They would be here to help us to continue to develop our federations so that they can provide the best services
“We want to continue to educate the government on what is needed to develop those podium athletes that every country dreamed of, and secondly, the potential donors,” he said.
“The purpose of the funds is to be used for long-term training, so when we say ‘development’, it is for training, whether it be coaching, strengthening, conditioning,” he said, noting that the Sports Commission already has conditioning facilities for Providenciales that athletes are free to use, and which is equipped with a staff, to drive the programme.
Parker pointed out that for an athlete to be considered under the Long-Term Athlete Development Fund, the respective federations would be required to identify and recommend the athlete.
“The athletes would be recommended by their federations as to who they believe are the promising athletes. The athletes would then receive support out of that fund,” Parker explained.
He added: “In some cases, they might need mentoring, or they might have to travel to events. So, it would be used in that way…for the promotion of those potential athletes. The idea is to develop a committee to govern those funds.”
With regards to parents’ involvement, Parker noted: “Parents play a key role in helping the athletes to focus, provide them with the nutrition that they need to be the best athlete.”
Parker said he hopes that the takeaway from the symposium is that the federations would have a much better understanding of how to respective mandates stipulated by their respective international governing bodies.
“…And by hosting this symposium is our way of continuing to give them the support they need develop and to be on that level, and hopefully go on develop podium athletes. It is also to continue to grow federations and give them to support they need to gain those mandates handed down by their international bodies,” he said.
Parker said at this time the funds that the Sports Commission has on hand were enough to cater to between nine and 12 athletes for the year.
“And we know that nine to 12 athletes are pretty much one sport. Because a team of basketball is between 12 and 15 athletes. A team of softball is anywhere between 12 and 15.
“So, if we have a team that have some high potential athletes, then the other sports would be left out, and likewise for individual sports. So, we know that in order for us to reach the podium excellence that we talked about, we have to identify those talents and invest in those talents,” he continued.