MARIGOT—The Albéric Richards Stadium in Sandy Ground will once again be the venue for St. Martin’s 13th International Athletics Meet to be held on Saturday, May 13, 2017,
Details of the event which is on the International Athletics Association Federation (IAAF) calendar were disclosed by President of Speedy Plus Club and organiser, Calvin Bryan, at a press conference in Hotel de la Collectivité on Tuesday. The all-day event will be split up into different events starting in the morning with competition between the schools of St. Martin, St. Maarten, Anguilla and St. Barths. Categories are eight and under and 10 and under. Teams are composed for four boys and four girls.
That will be followed by regional, inter-regional and the much anticipated international races featuring many Olympians and national medal winners. Bryan indicated this year three quarters of the invited international athletes are Olympians and multiple medal winners in their respective countries.
“This year, if we have unfavourable wind conditions as we had last year, we have the possibility to run the races in the reverse direction,” Bryan disclosed. “Because the times are so important for athletes to qualify for the bigger competitions.”
He added there will be three electronic timing systems, one from Guadeloupe, one from Anguilla, and a professional timer and double camera system from the USA.
Some of those international names include USA’s Kristi Castlin, 2016 Olympic Bronze Medallist in the Hurdles; BVI’s Tahesia Harrigan-Scott, record holder in the 60, 100 and 200 metres, Kierre Beckles from Barbados, record holder in the 60 and 100 metres; Curacao’s Liemarvin Bonevacia who holds the Netherlands record for the 400 metres (indoor); Darya Klishina (Long Jump), the only Russian athlete to compete in the 2016 Olympics; Alina Talay from Belarus (Hurdles); and Trinidad and Tobago’s Richard Thompson, Olympic silver medallist in 2008 in the 100 metres.
Making a return to St. Martin after last year’s event are Dominican Republic’s Yancarlos Martinez, his country’s record holder in the 100 and 200 metres; Italy’s Libania Grenot (200 and 400 metres), and Italy’s Gloria Hooper (100 and 200 metres).
Two invited officials will be present for the event; President of the Athletics League of the USA and Director of the IMG Academy. The budget for the event is 400,000 euros with the Collectivité contributing 40,000 euros.
First Vice-President in charge of sports, Valérie Damaseau, said the Collectivité is pleased to be working closely with Speedy Plus on this event, and with other sports associations to help rebuild sports on the island.
“Sports not only promotes physical fitness, but is important in developing team building, social skills, and development of self-esteem and self-worth,” she said. “We are honoured to be working with Speedy Plus and the other departments to continue making this a high level event.”
Third Vice-President in charge of education, Annick Petrus, disclosed that in conjunction with Speedy Plus pupils from St. Martin schools will, for the first time, have exchanges with the invited athletes at a meeting in the Omnisports Hall on Friday. Through questions and answers, the children will be able to understand what it takes to be an athlete, and hopefully be inspired to know that one day they can also become a top athlete.
Entry fee to the event for the public is 10 euros or US$10. Entry is free for children up to 12 years.