HUNDREDS of patriotic Saint Lucians, including a 30-strong contingent representing the Survivors track and field club, (Julien Alfred’s club) are expected to be at the Hewanorra International Airport this afternoon to officially welcome Saint Lucia’s sprint Queen from the Youth Olympic Games in Buenos Aries, Argentina.
The 17-year-old Julien made history on Monday 15th October when she secured the silver medal in the 100 metres in a time of 11.23 seconds, the first for Saint Lucia since the inception of the games in 2010 in Nanjing, China.
Also in attendance will be Saint Lucia Olympic Committee Inc, President – Fortuna Belrose, Minister for Youth Development and Sports -Edmund Estaphane, Multiple Sportswoman of the Year and 2018 Commonwealth Games gold medalist – Levern Spencer.
Other members of the team arriving this afternoon at 2.30 p.m. include – Jayhan Odlum-Smith (swimmer), Jayhan secured two personal best in the pool, 54.99 seconds in the 100 metres free and 25.74 seconds in the 50 metres fly. Shelton St. Rose (Athletics), finished 12th overall out of 38 competitors in the 100 metres; he ran 11.01 seconds and 10.70 seconds respectively. The remainder of the team include – Denise Herman (Athletics Coach), Brian Charles (Swimming Coach) and Liota Charlemange – Mason (Chef de Mission).
Meanwhile, Ryan O’ Brian, Information Assistant in the Department of Youth Development and Sports spoke to the Acting Director of Youth Development and Sports Patrick Mathurin about Julien performance in Buenos Aries and this is what he had to say.
“The continued support of the nation’s elite athletes is vital for the continued production of world class performances like what female sprinter Julien Alfred has put in for the past two years”.
Alfred won the silver medal in the women’s 100 metres in a time of 11.23 seconds at the Youth Olympic Games, which ended in Buenos Aires, Argentina on Thursday 18th October; last year she won the gold medal in the same event at the Commonwealth Youth Games in the Bahamas.
“It just goes to show that when you support athletes with potential, they will finally realise their dreams. It’s all about facilitating athletes. We will continue to work with her coach Cuthbert Modeste who works here at the Department to assist in her future development”. Mathurin said.
The Ministry of Youth Development and Sports, as a stand-alone Ministry at the time got, involved in an important part of her development, helping to facilitate her ability to attend the Saint Catherine High School in Jamaica for three years between 2015 and 2018. She graduated on June 28 and returned home on June 30.
Alfred began training in July for the Youth Olympics Games with her club Survivors until the end of September. Cuthbert Modeste was assisted by other coaches in the Department, MakebaAlcide and Michael Biscette, both outstanding athletes in their own right.
“We were always kept in the loop regarding her development and we will do all we can to ensure she continues to do so,” Mathurin added.
Meanwhile coach Modeste emphasised that Alfred had long been spotted by other coaches in the region who were all impressed by her performances on the track.
“There was a particular CAC Junior Games that she was seen by several coaches and three had expressed interest in her. The Jamaican coach pursued it and I remember being at a Windward Islands Schools Games in the Commonwealth of Dominica when the Jamaican coach followed up. The Ministry got involved and she was able to secure a place at Saint Catherine High”. Modeste disclosed.