While the local sporting landscape clearly did not produce the most prominent stories of 2021, it did produce memorable performances, amidst the pandemic, on and off the field of play such as the protests and withdrawal of four national teams; high jump Queen, Levern Spencer retiring from the athletics; Luc Chevrier winning a bronze medal at the Pan Am Junior Games and Fayth Jeffery smashing of records in the pool and more.
January to March, Inter House school sports at every level (Primary/ Secondary) was a no show as well as the annual Inter Secondary School Sports Championship and National Sports Awards. All these were due to Covid -19.
Also in March it was not business as usual when the Saint Lucia Football Association (SLFA) withdrew the Saint Lucia national men’s football team’s participation in the FIFA World Cup qualifiers (Qatar 2022).
Past and present national players protested outside the SLFA headquarters in La Clery seeking answers. The protesters were armed with placards calling for the SLFA president Lyndon Cooper to vacate the position. At the time of the withdrawal, Saint Lucia was down to play Nicaragua in Group E.
Saint Lucian national basketball player, Joel Polius was named to the NAIA All – Tournament Team and the Third Team All – American.
Polius, a 2017 graduate of the Vide Boutielle Secondary School, had a stella season with the SAGU Lions, which he punctuated with a 27- point, 12 rebound game against Carroll College in the quarterfinals of the NAIA Division II Men’s Championship.
Also in March a number of Saint Lucian athletes attending University/ College in the USA performed creditably as some closed off the indoor season and others opened their outdoor season.
On show: Mickey Ferdinand (Texas A&M), Amari Modeste (Lindenwood), Reuben Nichols (Lincoln Missouri) and Mechaela Hyacinth (Azusa Pacific).
April: A number of young athletes who were poised to represent the country at the Carifta Track and Field Championship and the Carifta Swim Championship this year didn’t get that opportunity as the two regional events were cancelled for the second consecutive year in Bermuda and Barbados respectively due to the Coronavirus.
In May businessman Eddie Hazell was elected for an unprecedented third term as president of the Saint Lucia Aquatic Federation (SLAF) and will serve for the next two years (2021 -2023). Other members of the executive include Paula James – Vice President Administration, David Peterkin – Vice President – Technical, Tessa Charles – Louis – Treasurer, Constance Rene – Secretary General, Public Relations Officer – Sue Monplasir, Fund Raising Officer – Diane Mauricette and Yasmin Tyson – Aquatic Development Officer.
Also in May Choiseul emerged champions of the second edition of the Saint Lucia National Cricket Association T10 Blast when they defeated the Darren Sammy led Micoud Eagles team by 25 runs in the finals at the Daren Sammy Cricket Grounds. Scores – Choiseul 100 for 8, Micoud Eagles 75 for 9.
For the third-place silverware, defending champions South Castries Lions defeated Mon Repos Stars by 25 runs by the Duckworth Lewis System (DLS).
MVP of the tournament and most wickets taken (12) Lance Sammy, Micoud Eagles.
July: Saint Lucia was represented at the Tokyo Olympic Games by Levern Spencer (athletics / high jump), Luc Cheverie and Stephanie Devaux – Lovell (sailing/ laser radial), Jean Luc Zephir, and Maikili Charlemagne (swimming). One noticeable performance was last year’s Junior Sportswoman and first time Olympian Maikili Charlemagne setting a new national record in the 50-metre freestyle in a time of 26.99 seconds. Accompanying the team to Tokyo was Chef de Mission, Henry Bailey and swim coach, Brian Charles.
Sandals Cup: Central Castries and the Saint Lucia Sports Academy emerged as Joint Champions of the 2021 Sandals Cup Under19 cricket tournament when rain brought a premature end at the DSCG.
Scores in the match, the Saint Lucia Sports Academy 271 all out in 44.2 overs. In reply, Central Castries were 93 for 1 in 19.3 overs before the rains came.
Also in July Gros Islet parliamentary representative, Kenson Casimir was named Saint Lucia Minister for Youth Development and Sports in the Philip J. Pierre administration. Casimir who worked in the Ministry as a Youth and Sports Officer defeated the incumbent Lenard Montoute by 2053 votes (7077 to 5024).
August: Saint Lucia Youth Development and Sports Minister, Kenson Casimir weighed in on Saint Lucia Football Association’s withdrawal of both Saint Lucia Boys 15 and Under and Girls 14 and Under national teams.
The SLFA was unable to fulfill its engagement in the Caribbean Football Union (CFU) Caribbean Series.
According to a release from the SLFA, both teams were scheduled to depart for the series (Friday 20th) but had to withdraw by the local governing body as a result of health-related issues.
Casimir said, “I think it is a sad situation I remember being part of Saint Lucia National Under 15 cricket team and I remember how good it felt to be a national player. My heart goes out to the young persons who prepared assiduously to represent Saint Lucia at the Under 15 level, but because of COVID -19 they were robbed of that opportunity.”
Basketball: Saint Lucia was represented by Levi Leonce and Rio Victor in the Dominican Republic at the Norceca / Pan Am Juniors qualifiers.
November: Saint Lucia’s most decorated female athlete, high jumper Levern Spencer (37) retired, a journey that spanned over 23 unbroken years and in which she accumulated an undisclosed number of medals including Commonwealth Games, Gold medal in 2021 and four Olympic Games appearances.
Also in November, veteran sports administrator Alfred Emmanuel was elected to serve as President of the Saint Lucia Olympic Committee when he defeated Saint Lucia Aquatic Federation president, Eddie Hazell 15 – 6. He replaced former President, Fortuna Belrose who did not seek re-election after serving two four-year terms at the helm.
Emmanuel will have alongside him for the next four years, 1st Vice President, George Charlemagne, 2nd Vice President, Trevor Hunte, Secretary General, teddy Matthews, Assistant Secretary/ Treasurer, Shayne Felicien, Treasurer, Joyce Huxley. National Federation Representatives – Lily Bergasse, Sailing, Cornelius Breen, Track and Field, David Christopher, Boxing and Monica Dudley, Bodybuilding/Fitness.
Saint Lucia Under 20 football team missed out: A dramatic two-goal comeback in the final minutes earned host nation Dominican Republic a 2-2 draw with Saint Lucia and a spot in next year’s 2022 CONCACAF Men’s Under-20 Championship.
With Dominican Republic on 9 points and Saint Lucia on 7 points to start the day, Group B looked set to go the way of Saint Lucia, who held a 2-0 lead heading into the final minutes thanks to a brace from Keygan Caull in the 28th and 45th minute.
But the Dominican Republic never threw in the towel, beginning with a Jason Joseph goal in the 88th minute to make it 2-1. The electricity could be felt throughout the Felix Sanchez Olympic Stadium in Santo Domingo and the home side fed off that energy by scoring the decisive goal through Edison Azcona in the 90+4 minute of added on time to earn the 2-2 draw that propelled them to the 2022 CMU20.
On Sunday 21st, National female swimmer Vanessa Eugene made history when she became the first woman to swim 14 Kilometers from Sandals Grande St. Lucian Spa and Beach Resort to Rat Island in a time of 6 hours 58 minutes 10 seconds.
The 14 Kilometers swim is the first documented swim for this route, additionally; the swim was ratified through the International governing body for Marathon Swimmer’s Federation (MSF) since the measured distance is over 10 Kilometers.
The Mango Bowl Regatta committee which comprised the Saint Lucia Sailing Association and the Saint Lucia Yacht Club took a bow following its successful staging of the 2021 Mango Bowl Regatta (9th edition).
The one day event took place on Saturday 27th November in Rodney Bay/ Caribbean Sea.
A total of nine boats divided into two groups, Racing Class and J24/Surprise Class.
The Racing Class had 4 vessels – three from the French territory (Martinique) and one from Saint Lucia, while the J24/Surprise had one from Martinique and four from Saint Lucia.
Michael Green the first sailor to represent Saint Lucia (1996 Olympic Games, Atlanta, USA) was the Race Officer; he sounded the horn at 9.00 a.m. for the first race of the J24/Surprise class to start. The winds were light and intermittent swells rolled through the bay. The Martinique vessel GFA Caraibes (La Morrigane) was first across the finish line in 38 minutes 46 seconds, signaling to the rest of the pack that they were ready for competition.
At 9.45 a.m. after starting a second J24/Surprise race, the Racing class also began their sailing. By mid-day, the winds picked up and swells settled a little. The midday racing saw the majority of the boats finishing the assigned courses faster.
When the seas calmed and the points tabulated, the Racing Class was won by Sang Neuf from Martinique, skippered by Jean-Francois Terrain. In a close second was Gaya from Saint Lucia, skippered by Robin Toozs-Hobson
December: Saint Lucia was represented at the inaugural Junior Pan Am Games in Cali, Colombia. The 14-member team included the following, track athlete Michael Joseph, Coach, Kevin Mc Phee. Basketball Male 3×3 – Ryan Philogene, Alistyr Theodore, Garrick George, and Cletuson Leon. Coach – Ron Dumerville.
Basketball Female – Mia George, Petal Brown, Kaliyah Stevens and Ramani – Lewis Emmanuel. Coach – Ninoska Leon.
Swimming: Jayhan Odlum – Smith, D’Andre Blanchard, Naima Hazell, Mikaili Charlemagne. Coach – Peter James.
Taking home the only medal (bronze) for Saint Lucia was Laser Sailor Luc Chevrier. Chevrier was accompanied by his coach – Pablo Jorge Guittian Sarria.
The athletes were accompanied by Liota Charlemagne – Mason, the team’s Chef de Mission.
Also in December, President of the Saint Lucia Amateur Bodybuilding/ Fitness Association, Jacqueline Trim was re-elected at the helm of the association unopposed. She and her team which comprised 1st Vice President, Monica Dudley, 2nd Vice President – Eugene Gabriel, Treasurer – Melissa Joseph, Secretary – Shermaine George and Public Relations Officer – Louis Andre – Murray will serve for another four years.
Former national cricketer Julian Charles is the new president of the Saint Lucia National Cricket Association (SLNCA). On Saturday 11th December 2021, Charles made light work of the incumbent Carol Henry winning 9-5 at the polls.
Other members on the executive include – Dave Albert, 1st Vice President, Densely Anthony, 2nd Vice President, Roseline Preville, 3rd Vice President, John Estaphane, Principal Secretary, Esther Theophane, Secretary and Celestine Laurent, Treasurer.
Charles and his team will serve a two-year term (2021- 2023).
Basketball: Close to 70 aspiring male and female basketball players representing nine male teams and seven female teams converged on the Vigie Multi-purpose Sports Complex to compete in a one-day 3×3 tournament organized by East Coast Academy (ECA).
In the men’s final UDG Dubshots emerged as champions defeating King of the Courts 6-5, while Red Rebels 1 breezed past Destroying Divas 5-1 to take home the ladies championship trophy.
Twelve year-old Saint Lucian swimmer Fayth Jeffrey continued her dominant performance in the pool. Fayth who turned 12 years old on December 1st 2021 took part in 16 events over six days at the annual Barbados Amateur Swimming Association (BASA) Short Course National Championship held at the Barbados Aquatic Centre recently.
Competing for Pirates Swim Club, Fayth reset the clock in six Short Course Age Group 11-12 records along the way, she blew away her competitors to win 3 gold, 9 silver, 1 bronze, two fourth place and one fifth place finish.
The records smashed along the way include: 11-12 yrs old 400 metres free set by Katie Kyle in a time of 5:06.26 seconds at the 2015 Short Course Nationals. The new record set by Fayth is 4:50.76 seconds (2nd place/ silver medal)
Thalia Bergasse 11-12 yrs old 200 metres Backstroke in a time of 2:47.02 seconds at the 11th RHAC Invitational Swim Meet. The new record set by Fayth is 2:43.87 seconds (2nd place/ silver medal)
Sara George 11-12 yrs old 200 metres Breaststroke in a time of 3:06.23 seconds. The new record set by Fayth is 2:59.66 seconds (1st place/ gold medal).
Eden Crick 11-12 100 metres Individual Medley (IM) in a tie of 1:14.88 seconds at the 2014 Lucian Grand Prix. Previous National Record (Saint Lucia) Siona Huxley in a time of 1:14.51 seconds in 2009. The new record set by Fayth is 1:11.88 seconds (2nd place / silver medal).
Katie Kyle 200 metres IM in a time of 2:41.40 seconds at the 2015 Short Course Nationals. The new record set by Fayth is 2:35.21 seconds (2nd place/ silver medal).
Eden Crick 400 metres IM in a time of 6:07.89 seconds. Previous National Record (Saint Lucia) Natasha Georges in a time of 5:35.91 seconds 2005. The new record set by Fayth is 5:32.89 (1st place/ gold medal)
In the following events she also performed outstandingly: 100 metres Fly 2nd place/ silver in a time of 1:11.60 seconds; in the 200 metres Freestyle 5th place in a time of 2:22.89 seconds; in the 100 metres Freestyle 4th place in a time of 1:03.90 seconds; in the 50 metres Backstroke 2nd place/ silver medal in a time of 34.69 seconds; in the 400 metres Freestyle 2nd place/silver in a time of 4:50.76 seconds; in the 200 metres Fly 2nd place/ silver medal in a time of 2:43.06 seconds, in the 50 metres Breaststroke 2nd place/ silver medal in a time of 37.88 seconds; in the 100 metres Backstroke 2nd place/ silver medal in a time of 1:15.48 seconds; in the 100 metres Breaststroke 1st place/ gold medal in a time of 1:21.93 seconds and in the 50 metres Freestyle 4th place in the time of 30.05 seconds.
On December 20th David ‘Shakes’ Christopher retained the helm of the Saint Lucia Boxing Association (SLBA).The three-hour long annual general meeting and election of officers was held at the Saint Lucia Olympic Committee (SLOC) Inc Conference Room.
The executive which comprised of five men and four women will serve for the next four years.
Other members of the executive include: First Vice President – Robert Joseph, Second Vice President – Irwin Jean, Third Vice President – Earl Agdomar, Secretary – Bertha Desir, Treasurer – Lucy Goodman, Organizing Secretary – Odulia Justin, Public Relations Officer – Stan Bishop, Training of Officials and Coaches – Carlotta Julie Bonnett.
The Saint Lucia Athletics Association in December withdrew its four member team from participation at the North American, Central American and the Caribbean Athletics Association (NACAC) Age Group Championship, which is scheduled for December 17th -18th, 2021, in Nicaragua.
According to the SLAA President, Cornelius Breen, a plan was developed which entailed staging assessments and there was a total of three assessments to determine the final team.
The final two-day event was held on November 20th – 21st, 2021, at the George Odlum Stadium and the following athletes met the qualification.
The athletes – Denzel Philips – Speed Printing Survivors, Milán Mitchell – Rockets Athletics Club, Naya Jules – Saint Lucia Sports Academy, Kirsheema Ince – Saint Lucia Sports Academy.
Team officials: Lisa Joseph (SLAA Secretary) and Makeba Alcide (SLAA / Public Relations Officer).
According to Breen “We encountered difficulty in securing flights to get the team to Nicaragua and as such we had to make the difficult decision to withdraw our participation in this year’s games.
December 18th – 22nd, Tennis: Saint Lucia Tennis Association Christmas Classic. Joey Angeloni emerged Men’s Open singles champion when he defeated Arden Rosemond in the final 6-1, 6-1. Angeloni who teamed up with Arron Gerald went on to defeat Ajaunie Scott and Petterson George in the Men’s Doubles final 6-2, 6-0.
Following the men’s doubles finals, the following awards were presented.
Mc Namara Orange Ball Cup: Boys Under 9 Champion – Kimari Felix, losing finalist, Armani Rosemond. Girls Under 9 champion, Merkisha Justin, losing finalists, Nefertari Godard.
Rosemond Green Ball Cup: Boys Under 11 champion – Denney Estava, losing finalists, Sanjay Lake. Girls Under 11 champion, Kahenya Mukora, losing finalist, Imara – Marie Fadlien.
Acers Under 15 Cup: Boys Under 15 champion – Jonas Sylvester, losing finalists, Mc Carvy Cyril. Girls Under 15 champion- Iyana Paul, losing finalist Latoya Murray.
SLTAI Men’s Open Cup: Men’s open champion, Joey Angeloni, losing finalist, Arden Rosemond.
Boys Under 11 Doubles champion – Denney Estava & Sanjay Lake, losing finalists, Aiden Rosemond and Armani Rosemond. Girls Under 11 Doubles champion – Merkisha Justin & Kahenya Mukora.
Boys Under 15 Doubles champion: Mc Carvy Cyril and Alhil Cyril, losing finalists Peter Murray & Soren Claremont, Girls Under 15 Doubles champion – Iyana Paul & Jaelyn Henry, losing finalists, Amara Jn Marie & Amia Jn Marie.
Men’s Doubles champion: Joey Angeloni & Aaron Gerald, losing finalists, Petterson George and Ajaunie Scott.
Sports had its share of deaths in 2021 as well noted sports personalities in Saint Lucia passed away.
We lost, St. Croix ‘Vasso’ Albert, Willkie Larcher, Errol Montoute, Victorin ‘Sugar’ Laurence, Victor Dudley and Patrick Edward just to name a few.