Sports

Athletics Fraternity Mourns Coach ‘Dag’ Passing

Statement by Victor Lopez, NACAC President
Image: Coach Xavier Samuel (R) with Kyron McMaster who has a world-leading time in the 400-metres hurdles this year.

ON behalf of the NACAC athletics family and as NACAC President and Member of the IAAF Board, I wish to express my deepest condolences to the family of Coach Xavier “Dag” Samuels of the British Virgin Islands (BVI), who passed during Hurricane Irma on the island of Tortola.

We are totally dismayed at the passing of Dag, who was not only a dear friend, but was a mentor in advanced courses for the region.

Image: Coach Xavier Samuel (R) with Kyron McMaster who has a world-leading time in the 400-metres hurdles this year.
Coach Xavier Samuel (R) with Kyron McMaster who has a world-leading time in the 400-metres hurdles this year.

For the CAC programme, he was one of the most outstanding coaches for the first-level courses. Such course was historic because it was the first official activity held at the Puerto Rico Olympic Committee after it was inaugurated by IOC President, Juan Samaranch.

In conjunction with Rey O’Neal, he was one of the fathers of BVI athletics.

He was one of our most outstanding coaches, obtaining medals worldwide with his national athletes and has been standing out internationally for more than a decade. As an example, currently he was training Kyron McMaster, who has the world-leading time in the 400-m hurdles this year and was the winner of the Diamond League final.

He was a sincere individual, tireless worker, exceptional organiser, great coach and friend.

The NACAC Area and the OECS region lose one of their best treasures as a human being and we will remember him forever. We are all indebted for everything he gave our sport and even more for being an exceptional human being.

With pain in my soul, I write this testimony. I am sure that I speak on behalf of thousands of mutual friends of the brother that left us physically but who will be spiritually present with all of us at all times.

Rest in peace. You must be very proud that you leave behind one of the best active athletes in the world in the 400-m hurdles and that I am sure he will accomplish many great things in all the upcoming international events leading up to the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.

Have a good trip and be at the top of the podium in the Eternal Kingdom.

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