The Association of National Olympic Committees (ANOC) says “positive” discussions have been held with International Federations (IFs) on the inaugural ANOC World Beach Games and it was decided that the event will be pushed back two years, from 2017 to 2019.

This decision was taken in order to allow National Olympic Committees (NOCs) and IFs “optimum time to prepare their athletes” for the event, which was to be hosted in San Diego, California, USA. The city was unanimously chosen as host at the 2015 ANOC General Assembly in Washington DC with the hope that all 206 global NOCs will compete at the World Beach Games. Up to 2,500 athletes are expected to participate.

The T&T Olympic Committee (TTOC) in an effort to mobilise its thoughts and vision towards embracing the opportunities that can be derived from the ANOC World Beach Games amended its constitution to include the role of T&T Beach and Sand Games Association.

Moving the Beach and Sand Games concept forward is in the view of this column an urgent and vital strategic priority for the TTOC. Team TTO must be represented at the inaugural Games.

Not just from a competitive perspective but from a country brand positioning perspective. T&T has the potential to carve out for itself a positive reputation as the Beach and Sand Games capital of the Americas.

The economic impact within the sport tourism sector and the possibilities as part of the diversification of the economy have significant upside. Like almost everything else the main and major obstacle is an attitude and mindset that is quick to say “can’t happen”.

There is potential for a vibrant sustainable beach and sand games culture to be developed here in T&T. Sport tourism is a vital part of the tourism industry and T&T has the potential to host local, regional and international beach and sand games events.

The concept opens a world of opportunities for sportsmen and women who may have a preference or special talent in beach and sand sports. We can’t allow narrow minded thinking to deny our youth and young people of opportunities.

Big challenges related to economic and social inequalities, structural problems in our economy have gone unaddressed. As the technology revolution continues to transform the jobs and skills that are required in the 21st century, we have to focus on improving the quality of jobs and economic opportunities.

Peek into the crystal ball and see what the future holds. T&T’s future can no longer be shaped only by what we can drill out of the ground. We must now look to the full spectrum of our human and natural resources.

Where do we have a competitive advantage and or where can we sustainably develop a competitive and comparative advantage?

One such area of potential is Beach and Sand Games. What is necessary though is that the lessons we have learned (or ought to have learned) over the years must be seriously considered.

Root- and- branch reinvention of our thought process is a critical success factor. The need to be proactive and forward thinking is not a slogan. We have to straddle the paradox of patience is a virtue and the sense of urgency required in difficult situations.

The current crop of leaders in all spheres must strive to ensure that our youth and young people can build a career and realise their expectation to live better than their parents.


Brian Lewis is the president of the TTOC. The views expressed are not necessarily those of the TTOC.