Youth and Sports Development Minister Kenson Casimir has joined the chorus of praise for Saint Lucia sprint Queen Julien Alfred, hailing her historic Bowerman Award.
Alfred claimed the prestigious Award last Thursday night in Denver, Colorado.
It is the highest honor in collegiate track and field.
Prime Minister Philip J. Pierre and opposition leader Allen Chastanet have lauded the achievement.
“It’s a wonderful time for Sports in Saint Lucia,” Youth and Sports Development Minister Kenson Casimir told reporters, declaring that Saint Lucia was experiencing its best year in its sporting history.
He spoke to reporters on the margins of Monday’s Cabinet meeting.
“1987 was our pretty much barometer year in achievement, winning the Caribbean Cup in football, cricket, doing great things. But this year, we have seen Julien Alfred reach the absolute pinnacle of collegiate track and field,” the Gros Islet MP noted.
“We also had a weekend where our table tennis team came out on top, in fact, in every division – male, famale, overall champions in table tennis at the OECS level and so we are very proud of where we’re going in terms of sport,” Casimir stated.
“Certainly, Saint Lucia may have six (athletes), perhaps not at the Paris Olympics, but certainly at the Olympics after. A minimum of six athletes in terms of the field events, javelin as well,” he said in response to a reporter’s question regarding local representation at the international multi-sport event.
Casimir observed that several local sporting associations were doing very well.
He recalled that Saint Lucia won the Caribbean Boxing Championship, the Schoolboys Boxing Championship, and the OECS championship.
“We have been exporting athletes to Venezuela, to Martinique – all over the world,” the Minister noted.
In addition, he asserted that Saint Lucia had not lost hope in swimming due to the impact the country expects from constructing the national aquatic center and implementing the coaching programme.
Casimir told reporters that regarding sports, the government had not focused only on the physical, an error he believed the country has made for the last forty years.
“We’ve had the best athletes. But they have not been the most mentally competent,” he explained.
As a result, Casimir said there would be a breakdown attributed to physical issues during the competition.
However, he indicated it was important to determine the state of the mental strength.
“So this government has really focused on the psychosocial, and when I say psychosocial, I mean their social life, their parenting, their background, their society, the community they live in and what they eat – all those sort of things so we could take care of that aspect of their lives, so they can focus on the field and then focusing on the physical development,” Casimir told reporters.