On Saturday last the St Vincent and the Grenadines National Olympic Committee (NOC) held an awards ceremony to recognise outstanding sports personalities with a difference.
The practice of recognising our achievers in sport is not new to St Vincent and the Grenadines although, despite significant urgings several national sports associations seem not to recognise the importance of such events.
In teaming up with Team Athletics St Vincent and the Grenadine son Saturday 18 December 2010, the NOC sought to once more encourage individuals here to raise the bar in terms of their commitment to and participation in sport with excellence as an ultimate objective.
Natasha Joe Mayers, the winner of the gold medal at this year’s 19th Commonwealth Games in Delhi, India, was elated as the president of the Commonwealth Games Federation (CGF), Mr Michael Fennell of Jamaica, placed the gold medal around her neck at the NOC’s awards ceremony at Frenches House on Saturday afternoon.
It was all the more moving when Mr Fennell told the audience that Mayers was unfortunate not to have had the national anthem played for her after the disqualifications of the two athletes ahead of her were announced in Delhi. He therefore requested that in keeping with the traditions of the Games, the national anthem of St Vincent and the Grenadines be played so that Mayers could savour the moment that she and the national athletics fraternity had longed for.
It was a very emotional Mayers who stood before an appreciative crowd at Frenches House, receiving her medal and standing for the national anthem alongside Mr Fennell, Mr Trevor Bailey, president of the NOC and Mr Keith Joseph, president of TASVG.
For Mayers the moment was all the more emotional because her mother was on hand, having travelled to St Vincent and the Grenadines for the occasion.
The NOC had brought Mayers home to receive the prestigious medal and invited Mr Fennell to deliver the feature address as well as officially hand over the medal.
Mayers, who left her homeland at the age of 10, first represented St Vincent and the Grenadines at the Trinidad and Tobago National Championships in June 2000. She won the 100m at this Meet. She made the Olympic “A” standard in a time of 11:24.Unfortunately for her she could only manage 11.61 in Sydney, failing to go beyond the first round of the competition.
In 2001, Mayers became the National Junior Colleges record holder in the 100m and qualified for the IAAF Track and Field Championships in Edmonton, Canada, where she advanced through to the semifinals.
One year later, Mayers became the NCAA Champion in the 200 meters while competing for University of Southern California (USC). Later that year she placed 4th at the Commonwealth Games in Manchester, England after placing a disappointing 8th in the 100 meters.
Mayers’ 11.09 in 2004 left her with the 10th fastest time that year in the 100 meters. At the Olympics in Athens, Greece, she advanced to the quarterfinals of the 100 meters but was forced to withdraw because of injury.
Later that year she was disappointingly banned for tostesterone.
She could easily have quit but opted to seek pardon and recommitted to striving after success. This feat she achieved at the Commonwealth Games, in Delhi India, last October.
There were two other awards that came under the ambit of the NOC on Saturday last. These were awards from the International Olympic Committee – The IOC Youth and Sport Trophy.
The first recipient of the IOC Youth and Sport Trophy in St Vincent and the Grenadines was Lawrence ‘Larry’ Bascombe. He was rewarded for his consistent work in the sport development process in this country, particularly among the Marriaqua community where he was a most committed sport administrator while in a wheelchair, until the time of his death.
Ian Sardine started teaching on 15 October 1976. He was stationed at the Kingstown Roman Catholic School for two years before spending another two years at the St. Vincent and the Grenadines Teachers College (1978-80), three at the
Kingstown Methodist School (1981-84) and then the Mayreau Primary School (1984-87). He returned to the Kingstown Roman Catholic School (1987-95), then to the Kingstown Government School (1995-2004) and finally, to the Kingstown Preparatory School 2004, where he is still assigned.
Sardine’s involvement in sport began with Athletics and Football in 1981.
In Football, Sardine has had a most distinguished career in so far as organising and coaching are concerned. He organised the Primary School tournament (football) for Kingstown schools (1981-1984). He assisted in the organization of the ‘Rollit Coaching Classic’ for young footballers aged 5-16years, (1982-1992).
He has attended numerous coaching courses locally and started the football club ‘Saints F.C’ since 1990.
In 1994 he carried teams to Barbados to participate in the Barbados Cup.
During the period 1995-1996 Sardine served as president of the St. Vincent and the Grenadines Football Federation .
In 1997 he started ‘SVM System 3 FC’, which is currently the defending champion in every league in which the team has participated for the last three years including the recently concluded National Club Championship. In 2001 he started the Youth Coaching arm of ‘SVM System 3 FC’.
In 2004 Sardine renamed and expanded the coaching clinic to the ‘SVG Youth Football Academy’ and established relations with other areas under the same name – Layou, Barrouallie, Campden Park. One year later, he sent two eleven-year old youths to Italy to upgrade their skills from the Academy.
In Athletics Sardine has always been enthusiastic. At every educational institution at which he served he has been involved in encouraging and supporting the children to become more involved and to strive after success.
His work in the community is also commendable. During the period 1990-2008 He was instrumental in the organisation of coaching activities for youths in local communities such as Redemption Sharpes. He has also helped organize football competitions and served as president of a local community group in 2005.
The NOC was clearly proud to have been able to identify and reward Ian Sardine for his tremendous commitment to the national sport development process as it impacts the youth. He received the IOC Youth and Sport Trophy for 2009.
Sabrina Mitchell-Sutton did her early schooling on Bequia before pursuing advanced studies in Canada, eventually graduating from the University of Toronto, Queens Park, Canada, with an Honors BA in History and Politics.
Her involvement in community service has been inculcated in her as part of her socialization from the very beginning. She knows no other way.
Sabrina has served as Secretary of the Bequia Sailing Club, Chairperson of Shore Activities Committee (1995 to 1999), with responsibility for organizing the Annual Sailing Regatta in Bequia and the co-coordination of shore activities on Regatta Weekend
She has served as President of the Bequia Basketball Association (1999 to current), involving 14 teams in Bequia with 150 players and 50 officials. She is therefore responsible for the organisation of the Annual Summer Championships in July/August and organizes and hosts Annual Grenadines Championship.
Sabrina also manages Bequia’s elite club, the Bequia All-Stars Basketball Club. During the period 2002-2006 she served as General Secretary of the St Vincent and the Grenadines Basketball Federation.
At the regional and continental levels Sabrina Mitchell-Sutton has been serving St Vincent and the Grenadines with distinction.
She has been consistently been re-elected Secretary General of the Caribbean Basketball Confederation (2004-present), the regional parent body for basketball in the Caribbean, part of the international Federation’s (FIBA) family, representing 24 Federations from Guyana in the south to Cuba in the north.
Since 2007, she has been a Board Member of FIBA America, the continental parent body of Basketball in the Americas, representing 44 federations in South, Central and North America, and the Caribbean
Earlier this year Sabrina has been selected as a Central Board Member of FIBA America.
Since 2007 Sabrina has been a Board Member and local coordinator of the Kerosene Lamp Foundation, Adonal Foyle’s charity, facilitating Athletics & Academics Summer Camps for Vincentian children – Union Island, Bequia, Canouan, Barrouallie and Calliaqua. These Camps involve approximately 1500 children aged 7-18 years.
Sabrina was the recipient of the IOC Youth and Sport Trophy for 2010.
The respective national sports associations have a responsibility to recognise outstanding personalities in their sport. The NOC therefore takes another approach, seeking out those whose contributions to the broader national sport development process influences life’s pathways for the Vincentian youths.
Certainly the NOC should continue in this vein and serve as an incentive to others to continue making their con