Rhoda, Alain Pledge full Support to International Track and Field Meet featuring Olympic Medallists


Newly-inaugurated President of the Collectivite, Alain Richardson shares a smile with Minister of Education, Culture, Sports and Youth Affairs, Dr. Rhoda Arrindell following the press briefing at the Collectivite Wednesday.


online casino

With several Olympic medalists coming to compete in a field of world-class athletes who have posted some of the fastest times in the 100m, 200m, 400m and 100m hurdles, the sixth edition of the St. Maarten/Saint-Martin International Athletics Meet scheduled for May 5 – 9, 2012, at the Alberic Richards Stadium in Marigot, promises to be a unique opportunity to preview the 2012 Summer Olympics as many of the participating athletes will also be in the London Games.

The administrations of both halves of the island have thrown their full support behind this initiative of the Speedy Plus Club, which has been hosting the event for the past six years, with the peculiarity that this year’s edition is the first in which there will be one team representing the entire island in the training camp and other activities that will be taking place during the week-long athletics event.

At a press briefing to launch the project Wednesday at the Collectivite in Marigot, President Alain Richardson, in one of his first official duties since his inauguration on April 1, 2012, welcomed Minister of Education, Culture, Sports and Youth Affairs, Dr. Rhoda Arrindell whom he thanked for the financial involvement of the government in Great Bay.

"You have matched and in certain cases, even gone beyond" our own contribution, President Richardson remarked, while he pledged his own personal support as well as that of the Collectivite, in spite of the well-known financial constraints.

Minister Arrindell recalled how far back President Richardson and her go in their mutual relations. "We had dreams of working together as one island and we did so during our SMECO days, and here we are again with the opportunity to further work together as one island.

Thanking the President of Speedy Club, Calvin Bryan for the opportunity, Dr. Rhoda Arrindell pointed out that this would be the first time the island would put its best athletes forward in one "national" team and expressed the hope that other sports would emulate this example.

"We have committed to offer financial help, because we believe the island as a whole wins. The event will promote sports tourism as well as the professionalization of our athletes and trainers through the training camps and other activities, and this falls squarely within the policy we are pursuing in sports," the Minister said.

The Minister also welcomed the idea put forward by Speedy Club’s president, Calvin Bryan, that the International Track and Field meet will be alternated between both halves of the island in future.

"This means, in effect, that we have to sow the seeds now for this to become a reality in the shortest time possible," Minister Arrindell said.

Some of the top athletes who will be appearing at the track and field meet include American sprinter, Shawn Crawford whose has posted a best time of 9.88 secs in 100m and a 19.79 sec in the 200m. Other sprinters who have reportedly signed up for the event are Andrew Hinds of Barbados (10.03 in 100m), Gerald Phiri of Zambia (10.06), Ainsley Waugh of Jamaica (10.11) and Remi Arnaud of Guadeloupe (10.39).

In the women’s 100m, Trinidad’s Kelly-Ann Baptiste (10.84) will face off with other world class sprinters like Nigeria’s duo of Damola Osayomi (10.99) and Blessing Okagbare (11.00) as well as USA’s LaShauntea Moore (10.97).

The men’s 400m will see a heated race between USA’s Greg Nixon (44.61 sec), Israel’s Donald Sanford (45.21), Erison Hurtault of Dominica (45.40) and Italy’s pair of Claudio Licciardello (45.25) and Matteo Galvan (45.86) among others.

The Youth Training Camp will feature athletes and trainers from Cuba, Jamaica, Trinidad, Guadeloupe (where the officials will be drawn from), Martinique, and St. Maarten/St. Martin which will be fielding a united team.