Saint Lucia is taking a 62-member team to the Windward Islands School Games, starting this weekend in Portsmouth, Dominica.
Last year, as hosts, Saint Lucia finished dead last in this inter-school multi-sport competition, for students under the age of 20.
Officials of the Ministry of Youth Development and Sports are confident that this year’s team is stronger and better balanced. With at least 10 on a normal team for boys and girls basketball and volleyball, girls netball and at least 15 on a normal football team, plus boys and girls track and field, the competition usually forces the Sports Ministries of the four participating territories – including Grenada and St Vincent and the Grenadines – into severe compromises.
This year, Saint Lucia has 15 ‘specialists’ in athletics, eight girls and seven boys; five in girls basketball and seven in boys basketball; 12 in boys football; nine in netball; seven each in boys and girls volleyball.
The track and field team, which competes on Sunday, includes team captain, long and triple jumper Desran Desir, twin sprinters Janille and Shaquille Greenidge, sensational young multi-event athlete Julien Alfred, CARIFTA representatives Ibed Sealy, Amber Lucien, Rochelle Etienne and Kamillah Monroque.
Also competing for Saint Lucia will be Daniel Eugene, Junior Francois, Jaryl Bernard, Neema Leon, Keisha Gustave, Jermiah Evariste and national sprint champion Allana Paul.
Some of the volleyballers will be joining the team from the Eastern Caribbean Volleyball Association Youth Championships in St Maarten. They include Christus Jn. Baptiste, Dillan Modeste, Elijah Lionel, Scott Louis, Shermuel Clercent, Devin John and Ryi Maryat among the boys, Yosherbell Emmanuel, twins Kait and Kaitlyn Gaillard, Asher Hunt, Sancia Charlemagne, Udoka Constantine and Aryel Leonard.
Basketball has two of the youngest members of the team, including Jean Pierre Frederick and Ramani Lewis-Emmanuel. Jean Pierre will join Mickneal Kelly, Yohance Cazaubon, Kyanni Elwin, Jervais Florius, Tristan James and Pakel Gumbs on the boys team. Ramani will link up with Kameka President, Marabel Mason, Cherkira Shuffler and Siana Jameson on the girls team.
The netballers are Joselyn Hubert, Tany William, Nerdesner Samuel, Sherel Williams, Kamala Mangal, Everlou Linor, Shanika Andrew, Janell Mathurin and Joanne Shepherd.
And the footballers comprise Jahzani Henry, Tard Modeste, Melvin Doxilly, Noah Lucky Nicholas, McCarthur Louis, Edmund Alcindor, Jackim Ochilly, Alvinus Myers, Vino Bartlette, Shadrach Henry, Kennil Polius and Nangee Philip.