Pan Am Games gets going today

More History

When the national team participated in the 12th Pan Am Games in Mar del Plata, March, 1995, it was a different matter.

The first piece of history was the fact that the team was larger, comprising participants from cycling, track and field, taekwondo, karate, boxing and table tennis. Indeed to date that team remains the largest contingent ever sent to the Pan American Games

The most significant historical achievement for St Vincent and the Grenadines at these Games came through the outstanding performance of a young Vincentian athlete from Chateaubelair who had only recently commenced studies at Essex Community College, New Jersey, USA.

Coombs had served notice one a few months earlier when participating at the Commonwealth Games in Victoria, British Colombia, Canada, in 1994, he achieved personal bests and made it to the final of the 400m.

In Mar del Plata, fresh from competing at the World Indoor Championships in Athletics in Barcelona, Spain, where he became the first Vincentian athlete to get beyond the first round of competition at that level, Coombs shocked the Vincentian athletics world by finishing third in the 400m.

After a lapse of 36-years, a Vincentian athlete mounted the podium at the Pan Am Games, the official multisport Championships of the Americas.

Coombs’ time was 45.64, impressive enough to place him ahead of Trinidad and Tobago’s Ian Morris, almost as if replacing the latter as the English-speaking Caribbean´s star 400m runner.

Of course St Vincent and the Grenadines participated in every edition of the Pan American Games since then, albeit with no real success.