Football promoter David ‘Shakes’ Christopher was returned to the helm of the Saint Lucia Boxing Association (SLBA) after voting ended for a new executive, which will serve for the next four years.
The executive comprised five men and four women namely 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 and Christopher himself.
One can safely say a lifeline might be in the distance for the sport to return to its glory days with the hope that championships like the Organization of Eastern Caribbean States (OECS) Championship, Creole Championship and the Caribbean Developmental Youth Championships will return, all of which have been hard hit by the Covid-19 pandemic.
Just before he was reelected Christopher spoke about his plans to revamp the Youth Boxing Programme on the island.
“At present we have programmes at the Leon Hess Secondary, St. Mary’s College, Vide Boutielle Secondary, Vieux Fort Comprehensive and the Boys Training Centre. We are also looking to invest at least US$50,000 to US$60,000 in a youth programme whereby we will be camping the youth boxers on weekends hopefully at the Saint Lucia Sports Academy, not sure of the amount of space as we intend to start with at least 20 to 25 individuals, give them a stipend (hoping) that will lead into a novice programme,” Christopher said.
According to him the plan is to identify the young boxers from very early by putting them into various programmes where they can be developed to be champions and better citizens.
Coaching wise: “At present we have our national coach, Conrad Frederick working with the Ministry for Youth Development and Sports, and we are hoping we will be in a position to get at least two Cuban coaches and other local coaches to come and help him out so we can spread and get at least 500 youth boxers in the school programme, this is our target.”
Financial Support: “We will get the financial support from AIBA for sure; there is financial support there for us. We had a conference recently with AMBC and there is funding as long you can present an authentic proposal to these bodies, they will give you the funding to develop your youth programme to include Referees, Judges, ITOs, and Physiotherapists.”
Christopher noted that AIBA is taking a different turn in managing the boxing as Umar Kremle, the new president is doing different things in governing the sport so the International Olympic Committee (IOC) can see the way AIBA is moving to include the Americas which Saint Lucia is part of.
“The plan now is to open another gym in the south of the island as we are in the process of identifying a location and look for the funding so we can ease the pressure on the Vigie Gym,” Christopher said, adding that there are a lot of things on the cards for boxing for the next four years “where we can create champions and better citizens and even create history in Saint Lucia where boxing is concerned.”