The 2015 Pan American Games get underway this week, with an opening ceremony on Friday in Toronto, Ontario, Canada.
Scheduled to run until 26 July, the XVII Pan Am Games will see some 41 territories competing in 36 sports.
For many Central, South American and Caribbean territories, the lead-up to the Games has been controversial. In athletics, qualifying standards were set in 2014. Over 1100 athletes qualified under those standards.
Yet, with two weeks to go, the Local Organising Committee announced that too many athletes had met the standards, and a ranking system would be put in place, reducing the ‘quota’ of participants in athletics to 680.
Even more vexing, the USA and Canada would be allowed full teams in athletics, two athletes each per event, numbering about 300 in total. The USA announced its full Pan Am team on Monday, boasting that it was their ‘biggest ever.’
As is, Saint Lucia – which had nearly 10 qualifiers under the previous system – will only enter two athletes in the track and field competition. Albert Reynolds, Makeba Alcide, Corneil Lionel, Sandisha Antoine and Nyanka Joseph are among those ‘uninvited.’
Instead, the Saint Lucia Olympic Committee has announced a six-member team, a big change from having the island’s largest ever team to the Commonwealth Games last year in Glasgow, Scotland. Saint Lucia will contest four sports.
Stephanie Devaux Lovell will be the first in action, competing in seven days of sailing in the women’s laser radial class, from 12 to 19 July. She will be closely followed by the beach volleyball team of Joseph Clercin and Julian Biscette, from 13 to 21 July.
Jordan Augier will compete in swimming, which takes place 14-18 July. And finally, Saint Lucia’s two-person track and field athletics team will get into action. The team comprises high jumpers Levern Spencer and Jeannelle Scheper.
Joyce Huxley has been named as chef de mission.