The Saint Lucia Olympic Committee Incorporated (SLOC Inc) on Tuesday morning made another presentation of funds to one of its members, this time to the Saint Lucia Aquatic Federation (SLAF) during a ceremony held at the Headquarters of the SLOC Inc. in Vide Boutielle, Castries.
SLAF received a cheque in the amount of EC$10,500 dollars which will go towards the Saint Lucia National Team’s travelling expenses to participate at the CARIFTA Swim Championship in Barbados.
Speaking at the presentation, SLOC Inc President, Fortuna Belrose said, “We will be disbursing assistance to the Saint Lucia Aquatic Federation in their quest to participate at the CARIFTA Swim Championship in Barbados. Our Agency continues to provide support to our members to ensure that they continue their own quest at achieving Olympic gold; it’s a long way for SLAF.”
Belrose added, “We have had some outstanding athletes come through; the likes of Danielle Beaubrun always comes to mind when we talk about swimming in Saint Lucia. We trust that as you continue to develop your young athletes you will see the results that you looking for.”
The SLOC Inc. President further went on to say, “We know you have an athlete who has already qualified in the B finals for the Pan American Games, in the person of Jean Luc Zephir. We are hoping you can produce some more and that’s why we are here to support you. We trust as you continue to do the work that is required of you, you will continuously be inspired by the performances of these youngsters. That’s what keeps us going as members of the sporting fraternity when we see the work that we do manifest in the lives of these youngsters.”
Belrose said, “There are other initiatives we will be undertaking as an Olympic Committee. We are also providing good support to the Saint Lucia Rugby Association; we just received the assistance from the International Olympic Solidarity for support for the development of a structure for Rugby. Hopefully, we can see a lot more Rugby happening across the island. The contribution from the IOS is about $215,000.00 and at some point, they will be making those funds available to the Saint Lucia Rugby Association.”
We also had a number of athletes who left our shores this year on Olympic Solidarity Scholarships and we are happy to be able to continue to provide that support for them.
“Currently we are preparing one of the athletes we have always focused on, trying to ensure the athletes are involved in the management of the Olympic Committee and giving us ideas. We have one of our former cyclists, Kurt Maraj who will be going off to a forum in Switzerland to look at issues with respect to athletes so he can come back and work with a small management team for the athletes we have put together in terms of sharing that message,” she noted.
In terms of the SLOC Inc. Belrose said work was being done on the Constitution which was currently in the hands of the International Olympic Committee’s legal team.
“We are trying to ensure we are current and also looking towards the future with respect to sports,” she said. “Recently we appointed Andy Behl who is doing the strategic review with the SLOC Inc. We are at the point where we are engaging our partners in trying to prepare and roll out our plans for the next five years.”
SLAF President, Eddy Hazell on behalf of his executive and the swimmers, took the time out to thank SLOC Inc. for its generosity towards team Saint Lucia’s participation at the CARIFTA Swim Championship in Barbados.
“Our mandate has always been development and that is what we really focus on, we cannot do it alone, it’s a long haul,” he said. “In our very first year of taking office we took that year to do a review of the entire organization and we realized we need partners to get us where we are; it’s all about development. Our meetings with our governing body FINA or Fédération Internationale de natation has continued to press upon us the importance of development from the grassroots level to competition level.
“During year one after the completion of restructuring of the organization we started putting our five-year development plan in place,” Hazell elaborated. “Presently you are seeing various areas of that plan being implemented. We have looked at the facilities and support we have and obviously, what we could not find locally we had to go abroad. In going abroad we had meetings with our closest neighbour, which is Martinique, for assistance.”
Hazell added, “In signing a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) between our association and the largest club in Martinique, you are now seeing it bearing fruit. This weekend (Friday 5th – Sunday 7th) will see Saint Lucia host the largest contingent of French swimmers you have ever seen coming to our shores for the MIRAGE Championship taking place at Rodney Heights Aquatic Centre. We are using it as a pilot project and hopefully as soon as this weekend is done you will see a much bigger event.”
Meanwhile, for the first quarter of 2019, SLOC Inc. has paid out a total of $523,522.88 to seven national sports federations.
To find out more about the Saint Lucia Aquatic Federation’s plans, and why the change of name from the ‘Saint Lucia Amateur Swimming Association’, read this weekend’s edition of The VOICE!