AS Saint Lucia celebrates its 42nd anniversary of Independence on Monday 22nd February 2021, sports have always been the panacea of a nation constantly struggling to find ways to combat the reality of life and lost opportunities. This year we celebrate our Independence with a few of our top performing women in sports?
As customary, The VOICE celebrates with you on this special occasion. Here’s just a handful. I know I can’t get everyone in here so please forgive me if I left out someone.
She has been hailed as our ‘Athletic Queen’, her record speaks volumes and undoubtedly she is Saint Lucia’s most decorated athlete, three times Olympian (2008,2012, 2016) and with multiple Sportswoman for the Year titles under her belt, Levern Spencer takes charge of 42 years of our sports history since the island attain Independence from Great Britain in 1979.
A former student of the Entrepot Secondary School (ESS) and Sir Arthur Lewis Community College (SALCC) Spencer first regional meet was the CARIFTA track and field championship held in Martinique in 1999, though she did not medal, the following year 2000 at the 29th edition of CARIFTA Games she captured the bronze medal in Grenada clearing a height of 1.73 metres to signal her arrival on the regional and international scene.
Here now is a bird eye view of some of her major achievements and more.
Commonwealth Games 2018 gold medallist in Australia; bronze medallist in Glasgow, England 2014 and Delhi, India 2010.
Pan Am Games: gold in 2015 in Toronto, Canada and Lima, Peru and bronze in Rio de Janeiro in 2007.
Central America and Caribbean Games: gold in 2010 in Mayaguez; 2014 in Veracruz; 2018 in Barranquilla and bronze in 2006 in Cartagena.
CAC Games: Gold in 2001 in Guatemala City; 2005 in Nassau; 2008 in Cali; 2009 in Havana; 2011 in Mayaguez; 2013 in Morella.
World Youth Championship: gold in 2001 in Debrecen; she also captured a bronze medal at the Contential Cup.
Another aspiring female athlete who has taken the world by storm is Julien Alfred; she is a former student of the Ave Maria Infant / Primary School/ Leon Hess Comprehensive Secondary School (LHCSS); St. Catherine’s High School in Jamaica and currently she is a student at University in Texas.
At the Commonwealth Youth Games in the Bahamas 2017 she won the gold medal in the 100 metres; the following year at the Youth Olympic Games in Buenos Aries, Argentina 2018 Alfred captured the silver medal also in the 100 metres.
Alfred has captured two Junior Sportswoman of the Year title (2016 and 2018) and one Senior Sportswoman of the Year title (2017). She is currently keeping a very close eye on the Olympics Games in Tokyo.
Qiana Joseph (Cricket): Joseph made the West Indies team at the tender age of 16 and went on to tour England as part of the ICC World Cup team where she made her debut against South Africa. In 2018 she was subsequently chosen on the ODI squad to play South Africa in the Caribbean. Also in 2018 when the ICC World T20 was held in the Caribbean, she replaced the uncapped Sheneta Grimmond.
Qiana continues to be a force to be reckoned with on the local scene playing for her district team Gros Islet and sub regionally in the Windward Islands tournaments.
She was dominant in the last edition of the Windward Islands tournament held in Saint Lucia in 2020. Qiana was adjudged the tournament’s MVP, its leading scorer and one of the leading wicket takers.
Zaida James (Cricket): James made her debut for the Saint Lucia cricket team at the age of 13. Her regional debut for the Windward Islands came at the age of 14; she also made her Windward Island debut at the same age in the Cricket West Indies (CWI) 50 overs women’s tournament in Guyana.
Zaida made her maiden half century against Grenada in 2019 during the Windward Islands women’s tournament played in Saint Lucia. Following that tournament she was appointed vice captain of the Windward Islands Under 19 team and also selected unto the senior Windward Islands women’s team.
After the match, James said, “It was one of my big goals especially in front of my home crowd, I am quite please with my performance”.
Did you know she also took part in swimming, track and field, tennis and football? At present she plays golf at the Cap Estate Golf Course with her dad. One can imagine when the all clear is given and the cricket season finally bowls off, it will rain sixes galore.
Other female Olympians: Michelle Baptiste (Atlanta/USA -1996); Sherri Scobie Henry and Vernetta Lesporis (Sydney / Australia 2002); Natasha Georgeos (Athens/ Greece 2004); Danielle Beaubrun (Beijing/ China 2008 and London 2012); Emma Gene Evans (Beijing/ China 2008); Beth Lygoe (London 2012); Jeanelle Scheper and Stephanie Lovell (Rio de Janerio / Brazil 2016).
We can’t forget about the other Saint Lucian female athletes, they all in some tangible way brighten our lives over four decades of sports and most of them were under trying circumstances: Eugenia Gregg; Patsy and Verena Felicien; Dame – Nadine George; Elizabeth Williams; Pamela Alfred, Yasmine St. Ange and Heidi Sandiford (Cricket); Melissa Alfred, Kerth Payne, Patsy Harewood; Shem Maxwell, Rhonda Papius (Netball); Rosemary De Beauville; Monica Dudley; Lydia Felix (Bodybuilding).
Valerie Eugene – Martial Arts; Theodocia Pierre; Delta Lionel and Leona Augustin (Darts); Anna Cherry; Candia Esnard (deseced); Maria Charlery; Nessa Paul; Tricia Octave; Clarita Rosenbert; Pricillia Tisson; Andre Dore; (Athletics);Tessa Marquis (Domino); Ellisha Marquis (football);Dania Hamilton; Joyce Browne; Skye Faucher Mondesir; Dala Noel (Volleyball); Stacey Roheman; Julia D’ Auvergne; Meggan Williams; Alysa Elliott, Iyana Paul (Tennis); Ashley Ann Dossery (Taekwondo); Debra Ross, Lisa Daniel (Golf); Mikaili Charlemagne, Niama Hazell, Naekeisha Louis; Fayth Jeffery; Katie Kyle (Swimming). Robertina Cyril, Zarianne Anthony, Dawn Charles, Valdine Belrose, Cherese Darcheville, Mia George, Abigail Nicholas, Shermaine Blasse (Table Tennis women)
Senior Sportswomen for the Year, 1979 nil, 1980: Una Francis – Tennis; 1981 – Theresa Jn Charles – Netball; 1982 – nil; 1983 – Monica Williams – Netball; 984 – Cornelia Jn Baptiste – Athletics; 1985 – Ellen Marcellin – Athletics; 1986 – Laurette Isaac – Netball; 1987 – Anna Cherry – Athletics; 1988- Lindy Anne Alexander – Squash; 1989 – Kerth Payne – Netball.
1990 – Adella Paul – Athletics; 1991- Abigail Williams – Swimming; 1992 – Hassanah Nestor – Netball; 1993- Vernetta Lesporis – Athletics; 1994 – Abigail Williams- Swimming; 1995 – nil; 1996 – Verena Felicien – Cricket; 1997 – Eugena Gregg – Cricket; 1998 – Michelle Rogers-Netball; 1999 – Vernetta Lesporis.
2000-2002 Levern Spencer – Athletics; 2003 – Emma Gene Evans – Athletics; 2004- Nadine Georg- Cricket; 2005 – 2012 Levern Spencer – Athletics; 2013- Makeba Alcide; 2014- 2016 Levern Spencer; 2017 Julien Alfred; 2018 – 2019 – Levern Spencer.
Junior Sportswoman for the year 1997- 2019: Denise Amedee – Athletics; 1998 – Ginelle Vitea – Athletics; 1999- 2002 Levern Spencer; 2003 – Emma Gene Evans – Athletics; 2004- Tessa Ann Charles – Athletics; 2005 – Danielle Beaubrun – Swimming; 2006 – Merica Moncherry – Athletics; 2007 -2011 – Siona Huxley – Swimming; 2012 -2013 – Jeanelle Scheper – Athletics; 2014 Rochelle Etienne – Athletics; 2015 – Julien Alfred – Athletics; 2016 – Katie Kyle – Swimming; 2017 – 2018 Julien Alfred – Athletics; 2019 – Mikaili Charlemagne.