You may have heard the term ‘natural athlete’ before. For some, it’s a person who’s fast, strong and well built. For others, it’s a person who possesses exceptional physical qualities and is blessed with loads of skill and talent. Meet this week’s HYPE feature 20-year-old Chermalyn Albert, who seems to excel at every sport that she attempts and fits the description “natural talent”.
A national youth track and field star and footballer, she has also represented her country in netball and basketball at the youth level and also plays volleyball. But let me not give away all the details on this true multi-talented sportswoman from La Fargue, Choiseul.
How did you get involved in sports?
CA: I believe it’s genetic. I come from a sport-oriented family and I was encouraged to take part in sports. Sports has always been a part of my life and I would love to have a career in sports when I’m done with my education and see how far I get with it.
Which sporting discipline did you begin with?
CA: I started with track back in primary school; I was a sprinter competing in the 100, 200 and 400-meter races. Being introduced to field events at secondary school, I did long jump, high jump and javelin, along with the 100 and 200 meters; but that was only because I was allowed to do five events (chuckles).
How many years have you taken part in the Windward Island games and how successful have you been?
CA: I’ve taken part in the Windward Island games for the past five years and been able to capture the MVP award consecutively in 2013 and 2014. In 2013, I won a gold medal for long jump and the 400m, and silver for javelin, shot put and high jump. This year, gold medal for shot put and silver in the 200m, long jump, high jump, discus and javelin. And while I will be too old to compete in those games next year, I am presently assisting another young female athlete who I believe is capable of achieving that MVP award. I would love for her to do well, win the MVP award and the country would have a hat trick of awards.
What are your preferred track and field events?
CA: I love taking part in the 100m and 400m events and also the 4×100 and the 4x400m relays. I enjoy sprint events but I am competitive in all of the events that I do so I compete in the heptathlon. But, I really love the 100m and long jump.
Which sporting discipline are you mainly focused on at the moment?
CA: My focus is on the heptathlon. I started competing in combined events with the pentathlon but since my second best event (long jump) wasn’t part of it, I moved on to the heptathlon.
How difficult is it competing in the heptathlon?
CA: It’s very strenuous, but we usually have a 45-minute break between events. The two-day event is usually four events on the first day and three on the second, so it won’t be too much of a strain on the athletes.
You are also heavily involved in football. What fueled your curiosity for that particular sport?
CA: I started playing football at the age of 16 when in 2010, my uncle, who was the assistant coach for the Nemesis team, (which is Marchand for Inter-District Competition), decided to put me on a trial. I trained and played with the team and I made the National Female Under 20 Football team, and I decided to continue football as a primary sport. I am now a member of the Mabouya Valley team.
How successful have you been in football?
CA: As a striker for the Nemesis team, I won three consecutive National Women’s League titles from 2011 to 2013, with my best goal tally of nine goals coming in 2012. I received the MVP award from the Football Association (FA) for the National Women Tournament in 2012, and also the Female Footballer of the Year award at the Choiseul Sports Awards in 2012 and 2013. I’ve been to countries across the Caribbean, Mexico and Brazil in December 2011, where I had a trial with the Brazil U23 Female team.
With your involvement and success in so many different sports, have you had any athletic scholarship offers to a college or university?
CA: Yes I have gotten offers to colleges and universities but I didn’t feel like I was ready. I do believe that at my age it is ideal to move on to that level but I didn’t feel well prepared to go into it. So I am currently a student at the Sir Arthur Lewis Community College Southern Division pursuing an Associate’s Degree in social work and hopefully when this is over I can pursue physchology at university.
Finally, which persons have been most instrumental through your young and vibrant career so far?
CA: First of all my parents, teammates; coach Denise Herman and members of the Choiseul Athletics Club, my coach Terry Finisterre, and all Saint Lucians who come out to support me at the different meets.