March 26, 2010
Four to represent SVG in CARIFTA games

Two local athletes and two overseas-based runners will represent St. Vincent and the Grenadines at the 39th edition of the LIME sponsored CARIFTA games.{{more}}

Silver medalist of 2009 in the men’s Under-20 5000 metres Delohnni Nicol-Samuel will be aiming at gold this time around as he competes in the April 3rd to 5th event, which takes place in the Cayman Islands.

The Canada-based Samuel, son and nephew of former national long distance runners Dane and Bigna Samuel, will also compete in the 1500 metres.

This announcement was made by Technical Director of the St. Vincent and the Grenadines Amateur Athletics Association Gideon Labban at a press conference held Tuesday to announce the four-member team.

Labban indicated that US-based runner Lyndon Samuel will also represent this country in the Under-20 division, competing in the 800 metres and the 400 metres hurdles.

St. Joseph’s Convent Kingstown and Marriaqua students Shaquille Branker and Dannielle DaSilva are the two home-based athletes making up the squad; they will compete in the Under-17 shot putt and discus throws.

The Technical Director said that the St. Vincent and the Grenadines Amateur Athletics Association has decided to focus more on field events and which athletes are selected for specific games.

“Due to the lack of facilities here in comparison to others… we do not have a synthetic surface which would allow our sprinters to get to the top, so we have been focusing on events like the throws and the jumps.”

He displayed confidence in the athletes and said that they were expected to do well and gain valuable exposure by being on a regional stage, which has produced a number of international track and field stars.

Over the years, this country has produced a number of athletes who have performed well after getting their regional start on the CARIFTA stage.

The likes of Orde, Jacintha and Pamenos Ballantyne, Esworth Coombs, Marvette Collis, Kinekie Alexander and Sancho Lyttle have all made some impact on the regional and International arena.

President of the SVGAAA Keith Joseph said that without an upgraded track for local athletes, the standard of performances would be difficult to lift.

“In the absence of that (synthetic) surface for competition, you are really no match, we are just one of a handful of countries who do not have a (synthetic) track.”

Meanwhile, local General Manager of LIME Angus Steele said that the over US $250, 000 one-year sponsorship will make possible for the first time the live television broadcast of the games.

He said that although the sponsorship is currently for these games, his company expects to forge ahead with other CARIFTA Games.

Steele handed over a check valued $8,000 to the SVGAAA, for the local contingent journey to the Cayman Islands,The contingent was also presented with Phones by the communications company.

The squad is expected to leave here next Thursday, April 1st, and return on the 6th.