Left to Right: Romar Stapleton (fp), Handal Roban (fp) & Verrol Sam (fp)
June 4, 2021
Vincentian student-athletes talk up Champs experience

Three Vincentian student-athletes who are attending school in Jamaica, and who had their first taste of competing at the much-acclaimed Grace Kennedy ISSA/Grace Kennedy Boys/ Girls Champs held at the Jamaica National Stadium, recently, were high in praise for the experience.

Expressing their views to SEARCHLIGHT on the championships were Handal Roban, Verrol Sam and Romar Stapleton.

Roban, a former student of the Georgetown Secondary, the St Vincent Grammar School and the SVG Community College, summed it up as a “good experience”, despite not getting the personal returns he expected.

“I didn’t get the result that I expected, but I still contributed towards my team and we came out victorious,” Roban underlined.

Roban disclosed that he was expecting to do better in the 800m, placing fourth, but made up in the 1500m, by claiming the bronze.

“(It is) Not my favourite event, but I still got a medal,” Roban emphasised.

However, his 1:50. 39 in the 800m saw him qualifying for the World Junior Championships set for Nairobi, Kenya in August.
Reflecting on his training regiment, Roban noted: “Training has been rough this year, because with the whole Covid-19 and restrictions … My focus for the rest of the year is to go to World Juniors and perform to the best of my abilities and break more national records”.

Another former St Vincent Grammar School student, Verrol Sam, claimed:” It was an unforgettable experience… I was nervous because championships were being broadcast worldwide”.

Sam further revealed, “I was uncertain as to how I was going to perform out of the fear of being shown how previous high jump competitions were, seeing the Class One winning and seeing that I was still stuck at a personal best of 1.95m”.

At the championships, Sam cleared the bar at 2.00m, gaining a silver medal, while establishing his personal best and a St Vincent and the Grenadines Under-20 male high jump record.

Reliving the days of the championships, Sam related: “The thrill of the competition was there, but the vibes were not as expected… The crowds were not there to help cheer us on and motivate us… They had the speakers to give us the chants and that helped us a little”.

And, for Romar Stapleton, “My champs experience was a great one because this is actually my last meet at this level and that my team came out the victors”.

Stapleton, a former student of the Bishop’s College Kingstown, competed in the 4 x 100m, with his team docking in third.

Apart from Roban, Sam and Stapleton, Uroy Ryan, who last attended the Thomas Saunders Secondary, competed in the championships. Ryan earned a bronze medal in the long jump.

Roban, Stapleton and Ryan represented new Boys winners Jamaica College, while Sam represented the dethroned Kingston College. All four competed in Class One.