Saint Lucia will compete across a range of sports at the inaugural Junior Pan American Games in Cali, Colombia from November 25th – December 5th.
The Games were originally scheduled to be held last month but were postponed due to continued uncertainty surrounding the Covid-19 pandemic.
The 14-member team includes track athlete Michael Joseph who will compete in the 400 metres on December 2nd. He will be under the watchful eyes of coach, Kevin Mc Phee.
Basketball (male) 3×3 – Ryan Philogene, Alistyr Theodore, Garrick George, and Cletuson Leon will compete in the preliminary round on December 2nd -3rd. Coach is Ron Dumerville.
Basketball (female) – Mia George, Petal Brown, Kaliyah Stevens and Ramani – Lewis Emmanuel will compete in the preliminary round on December 2nd and 3rd. The team’s coach is Ninoska Leon.
Swimming: Jayhan Odlum – Smith will compete in the 50 metre Freestyle, 100 metre Butterfly, 100 metre Backstroke and 200 metre Butterfly. he represented Saint Lucia at the Junior Olympic Games in Argentina in 2018. D’Andre Blanchard will compete in the 50 metre Freestyle, 100 metre Breaststroke, and 100 metre Freestyle, while Naima Hazell will compete in the 50 metre Freestyle, 100 metre Breaststroke and 100 metre Backstroke.
National record holder at the Tokyo 2020 Olympics Games in the 50 metre Freestyle Mikaili Charlemagne will again compete in the 50 metre Freestyle, in addition to the 100 Breaststroke and 100 metre Freestyle.
The four swimmers will compete during the period November 26th – 30th and will be under the watchful eyes of coach – Peter James.
Another Tokyo Olympian, Laser Sailor Luc Chevrier will compete during the period December 2nd – 4th, Chevrier will be accompanied by his coach – Pablo Jorge Guittian Sarria.
The athletes will be accompanied by Liota Charlemagne – Mason, the team’s Chef de Mission. The athletes will arrive three days before their respective competition and depart one day later.
Gold medal winners will automatically qualify for the 2023 Pan American Games.
Addressing the athletes was outgoing president of the SLOC Fortuna Belrose, “As you know the SLOC is responsible for a number of multi sports events, multi sports meaning all the events are happening at the same time in one country and we get to participate, so what we do, we coordinate with all the national sports federations that are actually participating in those games.”
According to Belrose, “Just like the Olympic Games/ Youth Olympic Games, the Commonwealth Games/ Commonwealth Youth Games, the Pan American Games/ Pan American Youth Games, the Caribbean Games, and the Central American and Caribbean Games, it is our responsibility as an organization to coordinate and ensure that Saint Lucia is ready to go out and represent and for the first time the Pan American region from Canada down to Argentina will be competiting in the Youth Games and Saint Lucia will be participating in four different sports.”
Belrose took the time out to encourage the athletes: “You should not be daunted, you should not be flustered, you should just maintain your calm and go out there and give us your best you are capable of. That’s what we appointed you for, to go out there and really enjoy the experience and give it your best shot.”
Chef de Mission, Liota Charlemagne – Mason before announcing the team said, “I had the privilege to visit the many training sessions. I made it my duty to visit you, to speak and to get to know you. I am comfortable that I know each one of you by face and by name and some of your mannerisms as well. I am satisfied with the training sessions I attended; I saw persons giving it their all to represent Saint Lucia.”
Minister for Youth Development and Sports, Kenson Casimir took a time out from Cabinet meeting to briefly address the athletes. He said, “I always encourage young people to take the experience and the mental part seriously just as the physical part of it. I am one of those who advocate for mental preparation before competition and debriefing after competition.”
According to Casimir, “You will see a lot of initiatives under this administration over the next 56 months that would tap into the mental strength of our athletes. There is no two ways about it, we are a talented island. We have some of the best athletes in the region, we made some strides, but we have not hit gold at the level that we know we supposed to.”
Casimir said, “We have to evaluate ‘Why’ and that’s what is happening right now in terms of what I am doing as a Minister, evaluating the ‘Why’ and trying to find the best solutions to how we can meet that goal.”
Special mention made: The Sports Minister commended the coaches that continue to work tirelessly, Ron Dumerville and Kevin Mc Phee. “These individuals I have a level of respect for simply because they have been in the sport for a while and they contribute on the national level and giving back unselfishly to Saint Lucia and continue to nurture our athletes.”
Casimir added, “To the administrators, President of the SLOC, Fortuna Belrose doing her best for a number of years, being a national athlete herself, a former Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Sports. I want to applaud your efforts that we have a contingent in this tough time, in this global scourge of Covid -19. I just want to wish the entire team all the very best and make us proud.”