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Saint Lucia Embraces Julien Alfred

PM Pierre Calls Her ‘A Shining Light’ and ‘Beacon of Hope’ for Country

By Reginald Andrew
Ace-sprinter Julien Alfred
Ace-sprinter Julien Alfred

Saint Lucian sensation and ace-sprinter Julien Alfred has secured the island’s first-ever Gold Medal( Seniors ), as she sped to victory in the 60metres dash at the World Athletics Indoor Championships  at Glasgow , last weekend.

Alfred, the 22-year-old former  student-athlete from the University of Texas has garnered global acclaim and applause for her latest exploit of clocking 6.98 sec to win the gold medal  and Saint Lucians at home and in the Diaspora celebrated  this momentous achievement.

Prime Minister Philip J Pierre was among government officials, parliamentarians, supporters and other sports enthusiasts  hailed Alfred’s latest accomplishment.

“I am very happy about that and it is delightful…young people are doing marvelous things in (and for) the country,” PM Pierre told reporters, at a media briefing, Monday.

“I’m elated with Julien Alfred’s performance and we are waiting for the day that she will get Olympic Gold, and the government will give her all the support she needs.” he added.

PM Pierre declared: “The government is very supportive of sports, the government hails the achievement of Julien Alfred and the government will continue to work with her and all other budding sportsmen and women to reach their highest potential.”

Acknowledging the significance of Julien’s victory and the hard work that she has put in over the years, in her still young career, he said, “There are many other sportsmen and sportswomen out there who we have to encourage as well”

In an online posting, Sports Minister Kenson Casimir declared: “Saint Lucia stand up! Julien Alfred is the fastest woman in the world in the 60 meters. Alfred is the first Saint Lucian to obtain a Global Medal in any sporting discipline.

Congratulations Julien Alfred! We are proud of the ambassador you are to our great nation! One Love!”

Former heptathlete and PRO of the Saint Lucia Athletics Association (SLAA), Makeba Alcide told Voice Sports that Alfred’s prior accomplishments at the Commonwealth Games in 2022, where she (Julien) won a Silver medal “and her finishing in the  World Championships against some of the world’s best, last year, really made room for her to become a World Indoor Champion.”

And what about Alfred’s prospects heading into this summer’s Olympic Games, in Paris (26 July to 11August)?

“The SLAA’s PRO recalled that last year, Julien ran more than 40 races, “and this year, she’s only run five so far”.

This year, Alcide said, Julien has been better able “to manage her body” and sticking to a well-set coaching regime that will hopefully enable her “to execute and bring home a podium finish at the Olympic Games.”

On Alfred’s transition from a student-athlete to a professional, Alcide noted: “Transitioning from a student-athlete to a professional  has some major changes, as you will not be competing in College meets and you are a little bit more responsible for yourself.

“But she has a solid training partner in the Great Britain athlete Dina Asher -Smith and I feel that she Julien will do well. She is obviously to a good start in her indoor career as a professional athlete and we hope that it transitions outdoors, as well.”

According to a USA publication, the two big favourites for the title ended up taking the top two spots in the women’s 60m final at the World Athletics Indoor Championships Glasgow 24.

While Ewa Swoboda had been the fastest in the heats and semifinals, Alfred shone when it mattered most, clocking a season’s best of 6.98 to equal Swoboda’s world lead from the semifinals.

The publication adds that: “Before these championships, Saint Lucia had never had a medallist at a senior global championship. Now the tiny Caribbean nation has a global champion.”

In her post match comments, an elated Alfred declared: “I think losing last season at the World Championships and coming that close to a medal in both the 100m and the 200m gave me a boost.”

Alfred, who was fifth in the 100m and fourth in the 200m in Budapest, added: “I was very hungry coming into this season.

“My coach (Edrick Floreal) came all the way from Austin to be with me here, so I wanted to make him proud. I’m just going to keep hungry and train hard and keep chasing what I want. I’ll trust in my coach and me.”

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