The curtains came down on the International Boxing Association (AIBA) funded International Technical Officials Course (ITO) at the Marina Haven Hotel in Rodney Bay on Thursday with a celebratory cocktail reception.
Present at the proceedings were President of the Saint Lucia Boxing Association David Christopher, President of the Saint Lucia Olympic Committee Incorporated Fortuna Belrose, SLBA 1st Vice President Herbert Joseph, Director of Sports Patrick Mathurin, Former SLBA President Joseph ‘Reds’ Perreira, Course Instructor Angel Villarreal, Deputy Permanent Secretary Liota Charlemange-Mason, veteran sports administrator (netball/boxing) Barbadian, Kathy Harper-Hall, course participants and members of the media.
According to the SLBA, 19 individuals from 10 countries registered for the course including five Saint Lucians. The participating countries include Barbados, Bahamas, Cayman Islands, Bermuda, Curacao, Dominica, Guyana, Jamaica, Trinidad and Tobago and hosts Saint Lucia.
In welcoming the participants SLBA President David Christopher expressed, “This is the first time such a course is being held in the Eastern Caribbean and the Saint Lucia Boxing Association is privileged to be chosen out of eight countries that applied to host it.”
Speaking at the reception, Director of Sports, Patrick Mathurin stated, “Training is very important and very essential. It allows you to develop the sport in the way and the direction it should go.”
Mathurin used his time at the podium to caution the delegates, “We need to follow the international standards and more so in general, the standards that are set. Let us never try to re-invent the wheel, it has been done before. We are following the footsteps and trying to make it better. I anticipate everyone present will pass in flying colours. We want to be proud that Saint Lucia hosted the most successful course in the Caribbean with the most participants and the most passes.”
Former SLBA President Joseph ‘Reds’ Perreira speaking briefly noted, “When I came into the Organization of Eastern Caribbean States (OECS) I was lucky enough to realise that boxing was very much part of the fabric of the OECS countries and I followed that path, which allowed us to have our championships, and they were extremely successful.”
Perreira had an encouraging message for participants: “When this is finished and you have received your document, please do not drift away from the sport you represent here. There have been many courses in the past that had very good attendance, and I beg of you to stay with the sport and give back.”
According to AIBA Instructor Angel Villarreal, the Caribbean is one of the fastest growing areas in the sport of boxing as far as involvement. This is the second ITO Test in the Americas; the first was in Honduras in 2016.
Speaking at the event, SLOC Inc. President, Fortuna Belrose said, “For us as a country we are heartened by the work David Christopher and his team are doing, taking initiative at that level to secure this course… From the Olympic Committee stand point we are always willing to support and work with the SLBA.”