Volleyball Saint Lucia Inc. (VBSLI) can now take a bow for recognizing their athletes’ hard work on the court for the year 2018. They were one of the recipients honoured at the National Volley Ball Awards held at the National Skills Development Centre (NSDC) conference room in Bisee on Saturday 8th June 2019.
Before the evening’s gala was over, Levi Leonce and Tenayestlgni Joseph (junior male and female), Julian Biscette and Lisa Casimir (senior male and female) volleyballers walked away with the top prizes.
League Championship winners Le Club Volleyball Club (female) and Jet Setters Volleyball Club (male), also received awards. Special awards went to the beach volleyball players at the Central American and Caribbean Games in Columbia – Tervin St. Jean, Augustin Faulkner (male); Kerin Neptune, Jamillia Lansiquot (female).
The Bank of Saint Lucia (BOSL) Guy Brown Memorial League Champions awards went to Jet Setters Volleyball Club (male) and Le Club Volleyball Club (female).
Volleyball Saint Lucia Inc President Shayne Felicien took time out to thank those present for celebrating each other’s accomplishments and by extension the achievement of VBSLI for 2018.
He said, “2017-2018 saw a seismic shift to the volleyball landscape with the organization going through major challenges which gives us more reasons to celebrate; we have persevered and we have been successful”.
“Apart from the successes of our athletes; we officially unveil the new face of Volleyball in Saint Lucia. ‘Volleyball Saint Lucia Inc’ the new entity charged with running the sport we love dearly. This new nonprofit organization will be geared to pave the challenges of the future; this change is a result of one year of internal research and questioning and the production of a strategic plan to help guide volleyball into the future”.
Felicien said, “A strong base has been established by our predecessors and it is because of this strong foundation we feel confident that we will achieve our goals”.
Felicien mentioned some of VBSLI’s strategic plans which have actually come into fruition: (1) The development of a safe haven policy to protect young people in sports; (2) the development of the primary school programme in districts 7-8; (3) the creation of the felay programme with eight secondary schools currently onboard and most importantly, in the 45 year history of Sir Arthur Lewis Community College, the southern extension now has its own volleyball team which shows the growth SLVFI is trying to push islandwide.
Former national volleyball player/captain, and head of the University of the West Indies (UWI) Open Campus Academy of Sports and feature speaker, Kervin Jean, addressed the gathering said, “To the athletes that are represented here, I would like to say a special thank you for the sacrifices you have made to represent your country only to return to empty airports, some of you, without a thought as to how you will make your way home”.
He noted, “Not many persons know what it takes to make a national team or the challenges that an athlete faces in his or her daily life. Not many know what it is to step out onto a court and face opponents who are fully funded, have the necessary support services to afford them the ability to perform at peak levels, whilst you and your team take the fight to them, notwithstanding the fact that you didn’t have access to a quarter of the resources that they had, yet still you persisted and you endured”.
There was a glimmer of hope when he said, “I want you to hold the faith and remain strong. Just as those who went before you, you too will add another level to the foundations which will provide future generations a higher platform upon which to build the sport”.
Jean commended the VBSLI for their work and expressed, “The future of any sport is determined by the development programmes that it implements today. The progress that I see is aligned to the organizations pursuit and aspiration for change. I commend the effort and I encourage you, the executive, to continue to persist towards the expansion of the sport. I go one step further to challenge you towards setting quantifiable targets as it relates to increasing the participation rate through the development programmes and setting targets for new club formation”.
He warned the SLVF, “Take into consideration the health care and wellness of our athletes. Your sport is only as strong as the athletes and administrators who carry it. Though the challenges you face may misdirect your attention to items or agendas which are perceived to be more important, it is imperative that focus and better care be placed on national as well as other athletes practicing the sport.”
Jean said, “Too often our myopic view of development is focused on results on the court. Whilst the world has adopted scientific and holistic approaches to sport development, we in the region have held fast to archaic principles which have threatened to cripple our respective sports. If we are to move forward, we need to be more scientific in our approach to training as well as move away from the guts and the glory rhetoric to provide emotional and psychological support to our athletes”.