Sports

The OECS At Tokyo 2020

By Terry Finisterre

THE territories which make up the Organisation of Eastern Caribbean States will be well represented when the 2020 Summer Olympics – the Games of the XXXII Olympiad – get underway from 23 July to 8 August in Tokyo, Japan.

Kirani James of Grenada in action [Picture by Getty Images.]
Kirani James of Grenada. [Picture by Getty Images.]
Seven territories will field a total of 28 athletes in four disciplines: athletics, boxing, sailing, and swimming. Pandemic notwithstanding, a number of those sporting ambassadors have been preparing assiduously, some of the global professional circuit. And whereas (all things being equal) all 25 will share the tremendous honour of becoming Olympians, a handful will carry genuine expectations of challenging for medals.

Grenada leads the way with four participants in track and field, and the only Olympic champion from the sub-region, quarter-miler Kirani James. After a couple of relatively lean years as he struggled with Grave’s disease, the 28-year-old is approaching something like his best at the right time. The gold medallist in his event at London 2012, and the silver medallist five years ago at Rio 2016, James is one of the top eight runners by performance in the field for Tokyo 2020. James won’t be the only global champion suiting up for the Spice Isle however, 2019 world champion in men’s javelin throw, Anderson Peters will try to recapture his best form in what has been a very strong year for his event. Men’s decathlon will see Gold Coast 2018 Commonwealth Games champion Lindon Victor in action in 10 events over the course of two days, although his brother Kurt Felix was unable to qualify. In the pool, Kimberly Ince will contest the women’s 100m backstroke and Delron Felix the men’s 100m freestyle, both having been awarded universality places by the world governing body.

Image of Levern Spencer in the high jump (GETTY IMAGES)
Levern Spencer of Saint Lucia. (GETTY IMAGES)

Another Gold Coast 2018 champion, Kyron McMaster, is considered a dark horse to win the men’s 400m hurdles for the British Virgin Islands. Just 24 years old, he will have the daunting task of facing off against three of the four fastest intermediate hurdlers of all time, including the world record holder. But McMaster has produced career-best efforts this season, and will be eying a first-ever Olympic medal for the BVI. Like McMaster, long jumper Chantel Malone is the fourth-best in her event so far this year. But she’s also been the most consistent over the seven-metre mark. With both events taking place in the same session, it could be a glorious day for the BVI. Swimmer Elinah Phillip will go in the women’s 50m freestyle, whilst Eldred Henry has unfortunately been ruled out of the men’s shot put with an elbow injury.

Ryan Alston of Antigua & Barbuda competes against William Edwards of Wales. [Picture by Getty Images]
Ryan Alston of Antigua & Barbuda competes against William Edwards of Wales. [Picture by Getty Images]
Levern Spencer heads Saint Lucia’s team of five to Tokyo 2020. Yet another reigning Commonwealth Games champion, the 37-year-old veteran finished sixth at Rio 2016, the best effort ever by an athlete from Saint Lucia. She will be at her fourth Olympiad. The other four members of the team gained entry on universality places. They include sailors Stephanie Devaux-Lovell, a 2016 Olympian in women’s laser radial, and Luc Chevrier in the men’s laser. Jean Luc Zephir will compete in the men’s 100m freestyle, and Mikaili Charlemagne in the women’s 50m freestyle.

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