The value of sport to nation building cannot be over emphasized. The current government has embarked on a program to link sporting active to crime aversion and we intend to play our part. One objective would be to encourage outdoors activity that will get the kids away from the television and game stations and follow a healthier lifestyle. The goal is wellness and focuses on the body. Another objective is taken from the very nature of the sport. To shoot an arrow accurately one must be calm and very focused. The goal is mental acuity and the focus is on the mind. Many students have reported greater success in their studies after starting archery. Therefore the value of archery is holistic.
In 2014 we intend to focus on our youth and recurve archers without abandoning our successes with our world ranked archers who provide inspiration to the younger crop.
The federation continues the process of implementing the "Framework for the Development and Conduct of Archery in Trinidad and Tobago". This framework leads to the introduction of a grading system that will enhance the attraction and retention of archers as a clear path from novice to Grand Master Archer is laid out. Key to the success of the program is the training of coaches in the three levels required: Level 1 – Beginner, Level 2 – Intermediate, and Level 3 – Advanced. Our current senior coaches can train the beginner and intermediate coaches locally. Training for the advanced level will have to be done with the assistance of overseas experts. The framework and grading system is a major stride forward and we anticipate great rewards from it. Some clubs, however, still struggle with it's implementation and we shall focus on providing them with support, both technical and material.
The federation has committed to an annual youth archery championship. The interest in archery has grown to the point that we have had to separate the youth and senior national championships. We are also providing smaller less formal events throughout the year as an additional avenue for archers to express and showcase their talents.
Para-archery is new to us. World Archery is encouraging us to introduce this aspect of the sport. Eager as we are to pursue this, we are constrained by human resources, funding and knowledge. Nevertheless, we plan to conduct training in para-archery coaching and judging. Once done, persons with a disability can join our regular training programs once the range can accommodate their mobility needs.
We must continue to support our elite archers with advanced development programs and the ability to compete at world ranking tournaments. Our top archers need to be exposed to advanced world class coaching. The Ministry of Sport is working with the Chinese to provide one elite and two development coaches to Trinidad and Tobago for four years and we eagerly look forward to this. This is the only way for anyone to become better in an international arena and take the Trinidad and Tobago flag to the top podium.