Thus far this year, the St. Lucia Olympic Committee (SLOC) Inc. has committed just over EC$1 million in direct assistance to member associations and participation in major sporting events.
Alfred Emmanuel, President of SLOC Inc., made the announcement on Thursday, December 1, 2022, when he presented a cheque for EC$2,660.00 to Christopher Thakur, President of the St. Lucia Squash Association, at SLOC Inc.’s final press briefing for the year.
In his brief remarks, Thakur said the funds will be used to organize the Squash Association’s annual end-of-year tournament.
“In commemoration of our annual National Day tournament, we’ll be holding a tournament on December 10,” Thakur said.
“We would like to thank SLOC, the media and every sponsor who has come on board to assist us in making this match such a success. It’s raving, we’re having reviews, and we have a few foreigners who will be visiting from the region to take part.”
The tournament will be held at the St. Lucia Yacht Club in Rodney Bay from 10:00 a.m. The close of the tournament will feature a fund-raising barbecue and paying recognition to longtime players of the sport, including Charlie Sonson.
No representative from the St. Lucia Sailing Association was on hand at the cheque handover ceremony. However, that association will receive EC$3,640.00.
Following the check handover ceremony, Emmanuel updated the media on the achievements for the year, noting that SLOC Inc.’s fortunes were mixed.
“The year 2022 has seen some mixed fortunes for our organization,” Emmanuel said. “Again, the sport of athletics has been the leader. At the Caribbean Games, we saw the sport of swimming coming up to the plate, as well as netball, by providing the organization with medalists. Athletics was also among the medalists at the Commonwealth Games, again being the standard bearer for the organization.”
Emmanuel added: “Next year is going to be an extremely busy year for us. We’re down to participate in three major events: the Commonwealth Youth Games in Trinidad and Tobago, the Centro Caribe Sports Championships in El Salvador, and the Pan American Games in Santiago, Chile. We would surely like, as much as possible, to have a media presence at those events, providing that the organizers would facilitate such.”
Emmanuel said that while SLOC Inc. would have provided substantial assistance to all of its members who requested assistance, many of the members need to plan better so that their athletes will be in a position to do true justice when they compete overseas.
To that end, SLOC Inc. hopes to meet with the entire leadership of every member affiliated to the St. Lucia Olympic Committee Inc. on a one-on-one basis, starting this month.
“While persons might want to say that they are into December when there are lots of activities, forward planning for sports must not be neglected or sidelined under the pretense that we are in the festive season,” he said. “The St. Lucia Olympic Committee Inc’s leadership will be working throughout the month of December to ensure that we are prepared for the hectic season ahead.”
Emmanuel said the substantial amount of direct assistance to members and the returns under the umbrella of the St. Lucia Olympic Committee Inc and their respective organizations, has been unsatisfactory.
“We must push on. We have to push on. We would want our athletes to be remembered when they go out and compete, even if they were not able to make a podium finish, but at least their performance would have left a mark on their peers, on the organizers of the Games, and those at home,” he stated.
This year, SLOC Inc. provided many educational opportunities for technical personnel from the various sporting disciplines.
Emmanuel lamented the poor responses from some members whom, he said, never saw the need for one of their coaches to participate in those educational events.
“If you don’t see the need for your coaches – those persons that are responsible for enhancing the performance of your athletes – if you don’t see the need to encourage them to participate in such educational activities which are only geared at sharpening their skills and upgrading their knowledge to be able to deliver on the field of play, then we are in serious problems. This cannot continue,” he explained.
He added: “When assistance is provided next year, we’re going to take all those aspects into consideration. That is why we plan on meeting with the entire executive of each and every member federation, one-on-one, so we can outline clearly our expectations as an Olympic Committee.”
The SLOC Inc. President said many members have failed to provide SLOC Inc. with their calendars of activities for 2023, even in draft, proposing at least two events that they would want SLOC Inc. to start planning in terms of financing.
Out of twenty members, he said SLOC Inc. had only received calendars of activities from nine or ten.
“They have to come better than that next year and beyond, whether I am the President or not,” Emmanuel said. “If they are not serious in being prepared to organize their internal business and to give their athletes a chance on the field of play, then I think they need to rethink their stints in sports.”
Emmanuel added: “We’ve been in the field far too long and we really, as an organization, would want to see a marked improvement in the performances on the field of play. Hence the reason we have spared absolutely no effort. We have provided the financing, we have provided educational opportunities, we have provided Games opportunities, and all we’re asking of our members is to take the task seriously, plan adequately, and let us put our best foot forward.”
Emmanuel also thanked the media for their support in helping highlight SLOC Inc.’s activities throughout the year.
He stated that the media support was very encouraging, adding that the SLOC Inc. hopes to meet with the media early in the new year for a special activity.
SOURCE: St. Lucia Olympic Committee Inc. Headline photo: SLOC Inc. President, Alfred Emmanuel, right, presents a cheque to Christopher Thakur, President of the Saint Lucia Squash Association.