Commissioner F. Richardson attends signing agreement between NAOC and Swimmer Naomi

Commissioner Frans Richardson attended the signing agreement of a Sport Scholarship between The Netherlands Antilles Olympic Committee(NAOC) and Naomi Korstanje.


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Commissioner F. Richardson welcomed the signing and the commitment. He also pointed out that besides this agreement, he is committed as well to her athletic development, and that his office is open to her. "I want to congratulate you on this day, and I know that your family supports you 100%. I also want you to know that the community of St. Maarten supports you as well," Commissioner Richardson said. "I want you to know too that you are an example to other young athletes on St. Maarten. I am here for you. If we don’t take care of our own, who will?" he asked.

The agreement between NAOC and Naomi stipulates the commitment of both parties to each other for the next four years. The agreement is in the areas of financial, athletic, nutritional, and health support, among other areas. The agreement also requires that Naomi has to do well in school and that she participates in Olympic sponsored programs of which there are about 4 or 5 before the Youth Olympic Games 2010.

According to Naomi’s mother, Carina Reyes, Naomi has been in the water since she was 3 months old, and she got her first swimming degree at 6 months old. She has been swimming competitively since the age of 8; since 11, Naomi has been part of the Carib Swim Team. Today, Naomi is 16 years old, and on her way to the Olympics with the assistant of her longtime coach Ian Lee, who has been coaching for 15 years.

The present objective is to go to the Youth Olympic Games 2010 in Singapore, slated for August 14-26. The NAOC has committed to support the young athlete, in conjunction with the local affiliated arm—in this case, the St. Maarten Sports Federation, who will work with Naomi’s coach to develop a program that is supported financially and otherwise by both the Federation and NAOC.

President of the St. Maarten Sports Federation Aartwichgt Bell said that the organization is here to support athletes and to develop them in various aspects throughout their athletic careers. Other aims of the organization, he said, are to bring athletes together, to increase sport participation, and to debate issues in sport, among other aims and objectives.