ATHLETE WELFARE & PREPARATION FUND

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It’s important to constantly be seeking different ways of doing things. The imperative to have a strategic focus on what the alternatives are and clarifying what the focus is, helps establish the strategy. One can learn a great deal by asking and answering the questions Who? What? When? Where? Why? and How? The answers will usually foster overall insight that can inform the development of a strategy.

In the ongoing drive to seek a systematic approach to achieve and sustain high-performance sport, understanding the roots of high performance is more important than anything else. What constantly separates winners from losers is their approach to strategy. Strategy involves opportunity and risks.

Sport organisations all over the world are battling with their strategic agendas.  Sport leaders are wrestling with how to drive forward their respective organisations and overcome the organisational and environmental hurdles that block sustainable progress. There are operational risks, management risk, and sustainability risk. There are strategic contradictions and inconsistencies that require attention. Conventional wisdom acts as a hindrance and creates accepted boundaries.

Sport is no longer just sport. As long as we remain reluctant to accept the need for change we will continue to do the same thing over and over while expecting different results. Many decision makers have a vested interest in the status quo. Change must be introduced if sport is to move forward. Challenging the status quo is a critical success factor. Sport isn’t just the decision makers or leaders- it involves a genuine partnership from captain to cook.

Recently the idea of a structured elite athlete housing programme was articulated. There have been many questions and views about the need or not for such a programme. Outlined below is the basic proposition. A proposal has been submitted to the powers that be. At a minimum one can reasonably expect an acknowledgement and the opportunity to further discuss. Time will tell but in any event for better or for worse, nothing ventured nothing gained.

The purpose of the elite athlete housing assistance proposal is to advocate a policy that rewards Trinidad and Tobago’s National Athletes for their long and meritorious national duty and service at Olympics, Para-Olympics and World Level Championships (Continental & Regional). The idea of Housing Assistance for National athletes is based on the reality that athletes who dedicate years of their life to representing their country at Olympic and World level sport make tremendous sacrifices in respect of their careers, families, and income.

The athlete’s choice to dedicate themselves to National duty and service through sport ostensibly places athletes at a significant social and economic disadvantage.

Under the ten or more Olympic Gold medals by the year 2024 vision, Athlete Welfare and Preparation Fund, the Olympic Committee (TTOC) proposes the implementation of an athlete Housing Assistance Programme which will facilitate expedited housing distribution to athletes. Athletes will be required to meet the Housing Development Corporation (HDC) mortgage criteria and will have to honour their mortgage obligations

Athletes who have served the country with distinction for five or more years it is proposed they receive consideration for expedited housing assistance. Some athletes struggle to adjust to real life when their sporting career ends. Athletes dedicate years of training and sacrifice to fulfill their Olympic dream and to stimulate pride amongst the citizenry of Trinidad and Tobago (T&T).

Providing housing assistance allows for a successful transition from elite and Olympic sport into the real world.  The programme will remove the burden of providing a home for their family and ensure a sense of security when their careers have ended.

Brian Lewis is the president of the T&T Olympic Committee. The views expressed are not necessarily those of the Olympic committee.

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