St. Lucia Online: Last Week's Sports



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Same Faces, Different Places

    (4 November 2000) - St. Lucia's Amateur Athletics Association held its Annual General Meeting Saturday at Olympic House on Barnard Hill. In prospect, it was an exciting meeting. The Summer Olympics had just ended in disappointment for St. Lucia, and - Carifta bronze medal high jumper Levern Spencer aside - it had been a lack-lustre year for track and field. Alfred Emmanuel was ineligible for election to the presidency, and four names had been thrown up to replace him.
    Patsy St. Marthe, previously AAA secretary, told me she'd been approached, but she wasn't interested in running. Wayne Burton, another executive member, was rumoured to be making a strong push. Former president of the Legends Track and Field Club Martin Spencer had declared an interest, and former Organisation of Eastern Caribbean States Sports Coordinator Reds Perreira had also been mentioned as a possible presidential candidate.
    In the end, St. Marthe was nominated, Spencer and Perreira were not. Patsy, who is an employee of the National Commercial Bank, is going to have several familiar faces on her executive. Emmanuel did make it back, along with Burton, Andrew Magloire and Hugh Breustraal.
    The bottom line for the AAA is that with dwindling interest - lower attendance and participation - in local track and field, it seems there'll have to be a major change in mindset for the sport to move forward.



    (31 October 2000) - The national women's football team has an excellent defense and a potent attack. Its weakest unit is the midfield, which tends to be a bit impatient. Maybe that's why they score as many goals as the forwards, just one of the (several) reasons this team is so very dangerous.
    They were all but unknown going into their qualifying tie against British Virgin Islands for the Caribbean Football Union Women's Gold Cup semifinals. They'd only played a friendly or two against Martinique, and none of us had any idea if they were any good. (I think I watched them beat Guadeloupe, or was it Grenada, at Mindoo Philip Park, and they were pretty decent.)
    Then they clobbered BVI 21-nil on aggregate in June, booking themselves an August trip to Trinidad and Tobago for the CFU tournament. Then T&T postponed 'til October. So it was back to the friendlies for St. Lucia, defeating St. Vincent and the Grenadines 2-0 at home and 5-0 away.
    The twin island republic then opted out of hosting the competition, leaving St. Lucia's FA to take the ball and run with it, which they did. Aside from SVG and St. Lucia, Haiti and Surinam will be here in mid-November for the tournament. No word yet from the organising committee as to where and precisely when games will be played, but the girls themselves aren't too thrilled to be playing at home in a sport that has yet to find its feet locally. "We had really been looking forward to that trip," said one senior player. Even the coaches agreed. "We're happy to be playing at home, but at the same time we realise we're under a lot of pressure to win," noted Victorin Weekes. In a matter of days, we'll see how good they are.


Women's Sports On Tap In 2001

    (28 October 2000) - Young women in St. Lucia have become used to playing netball. Not necessarily because they like it, although many must, but because there's nothing else for them to do. The Ministry of Education, Human Resource Development, Youth and Sports adds cricket competition after cricket competition each year - not to mention re-introduction of volleyball in 2000-01 - but no room for girls' disciplines like basketball, cricket and football.
    That's about to change, according to Sports Officer Michael "Midget" Pierre. Speaking during the current inter-scholastic tournament (netball, boys' football, boys' basketball) Pierre said his Department is preparing to introduce girls' football and basketball in 2001-02. No word yet as to the format, but just the possibility has excited former player and current Lady Sonics coach Morgan George, who says he's been "after [the Ministry] to do this for fifteen years. Imagine what we could have done if we'd started girls' basketball in schools fifteen years ago...but it's never too late, and I think it's an excellent idea."


A Tale of Two Regional Champs

    (4 November 2000) - The Caribbean table tennis championships begin this week, after being postponed nearly a month, in Santo Domingo. The delay will not affect St. Lucia's participation. Table Tennis Association PRO Christopher St. Louis, overseas for the past couple of weeks, told me before he left his Association had been unable to secure the funding to travel to the championships. The Lotteries Authority, he says, "lost" an application from the Association, and other sources have come up dry. A team had been named in anticipation, and they'd actually been training fairly regularly, but with Association president Guy Cabrera recently having opened a new business, table tennis has been pretty much on auto-pilot.
    The Organisation of Eastern Caribbean States men's volleyball tournament has never been held without St. Lucia, and it's never been held if St. Lucia didn't win it. Having missed the OECS women's championships and the OECS women's tournament already this year, it stood to reason the Amateur Volleyball Association would be unable to send a team to the Antigua do, but newly re-elected president Brian Louisy has been energised to the point that he's coaching the men and personally seeking funds to send them to St. John's. They leave Thursday.


Zepherinus Wins Again

    (20 October 2000) - He may be the only person of African descent at University of North Florida. Okay, I'm exaggerating (a bit)  but 25-year-old St. Lucian cross-country runner Zepherinus Joseph does stand out, visually and in the results sheet.
    Running at Columbus State University recently, Zepherinus completed an 8-kilometre course in 25:25.77 to bring the Peach Belt Conference gold medal back to Florida. The Mon Repos star has lost only once in five races as a UNF Osprey, and he was second in that one, his maiden effort since enrolling as a junior


Heineken For Everybody!

    (29 October 2000) - A week after Mabouya Valley decimated Vieux Fort 8-2 to win the national under-fifteen competition, it was the turn of another Mabouya Valley outfit, Rovers United, contesting the Heineken FA Cup final at Mindoo Philip Park against Northern United of Gros Islet. Preceding that game was the third place playoff, in which VSADC from Castries beat another east coast team, Boca Juniors.
    Then it was time for the curtains to go up on the main event, and as one national cricketer told me: "Mabouya Valley doesn't come to the Park to lose in big games." His words appeared hollow after a first half in which Northern followed instructions to the letter, employing their wingers to maximum effect and dominating possession. Their superior possession resulted in two almost identical goals.
    With twenty minutes gone, Northern were awarded a corner. The resulting spot kick was not dangerous per se, but a goal-mouth melee ensued when Rovers' custodian came off his line a bit too quickly, leaving him entirely out of position for the effort from Northern forward Kurt Philip. Northern stretched their lead less than ten minutes later, and in similar fashion, thanks to a goal from Smith Bruno.
    The Gros Islet team appeared unassailable going into half-time, and Mario Michel was smiling with the prospect of an early second-half surge and a football trophy to go with the cricket championship won earlier this year by Gros Islet.
    The only people who hadn't read the script were Rovers' captain Pelton Marcellin and Northern's entire midfield. Marcellin, a tall, Rastafarian midfielder, had his way in the middle third, winning every loose ball and feeding his forwards at will. Jackie Harris took advantage of a goalkeeping error thirteen minutes into the second period, the ball having rolled through the legs of the Northern 'keeper. Still, with two minutes to go in regulation, Northern appeared to have secured the national title.
    Pelton Marcellin didn't think so. His shot, from twenty-five yards out, beat the keeper hard, low and to his right. Game tied, extra time.
    Both coaches, Patrick "Pataco" Philip (Northern) and Anthony "Meshach" Jn Baptiste, exhorted their teams. "One more goal," they urged. Either Meshach was more strident, or Pelton Marcellin simply wouldn't be denied. With 115 minutes gone, Marcellin set up Neville Harris for the golden goal, and Mabouya Valley took home their second title in as many weeks. No surprise, Marcellin was man of the match.







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