No place like home for Olympic qualifier

It is not quite the Battle of Britain, but clearly there is a rift between a St Lucian high jumper who feels loyalty to country supersedes everything else. Here is his take on things when addressing a rather ticklish situation.
“I am a high jumper from St Lucia. I am ranked number one in the UK and I don’t think it sat very well on their chest knowing that someone who trains with a British coach in London, would be able to come here and possibly take a medal. I felt a bit of tension and neglect on their part and felt it was time for me to seek training and attention somewhere else. I started facing many many different hurdles and I didn’t feel comfortable with them.”
The opening quotation came from world ranked high jumper and one of three St Lucian qualifiers for the Summer Olympic Games in London, Darvin Edwards. As stated earlier, he did seek training somewhere else – his birthplace St Lucia. Like they always say “there is no place like home.”
Judging by his opening remarks, clearly there is a difference of opinion and conflict between Edwards and British officials when it comes to loyalty to country, something which he spoke passionately about, during a recent training session at the George Odlum Stadium/Hospital in Vieux Fort.
When asked were you ever torn between competing for St Lucia or England, Edwards without hesitation replied: “I never in my life thought about competing for England for the main sole reason I came from a very not too good background, growing among most of my friends in gangs and stuff like that. I myself participated in some activities which were not good for a young man. I also saw the opportunity for St Lucia to have a role model, someone the kids can look up to.”
Edwards reiterated that he always saw himself as a St Lucian high jumper and never considered being anything else. To him anything else would amount to high treason.
One would think this athlete would be a lot better off training in London, where the facilities would certainly be among the best and let’s face it, he would already be on Olympic soil.
Surprisingly, Edwards has a different opinion. “You know the funny thing is the facilities and the expertise here is as good as anywhere else for me because it suits me,” he said.
Edwards has surrounded himself with what he calls a passionate group of individuals and with the backing and support of St Lucians, feels he has a greater chance to succeed. Looking back his only regret is coming here later and not earlier.
His team which he affectionately calls “my group” consists of Kim Jackson (physiotherapist), Burke Leonce (assistant manager), Terry Finisterre (publicist), Andrew Magloire and Dane Magloire (personal trainer) and Gregory Lubin (technical coach).
This world ranked athlete couldn’t say enough about Lubin who in his own quiet way, has emerged as a high jump guru, having coached Levern Spencer and Edwards while they attended Entrepot Secondary School.
Edwards referred to Lubin as one of the most instrumental and inspirational people in his life. He also feels Lubin has never received the credit he truly deserves “for producing two of St Lucia’s outstanding athletes” who are both recipients of the
Sportsman and Sportswoman of the Year and headed to the Olympics.
As one would expect qualifying for the Olympics was the thrill of a lifetime but it does not stop there for this athlete.
“I was very happy but in my mind being very happy about qualifying was just one step” he told me. “I was more interested in thinking about the next step which was going to the World Championships, about making my name and letting people know who I am.
As it stands my main
focus is and will continue to be doing my best and even take a medal at the Olympics.”
St Lucia’s have a rare opportunity to see Olympic qualifier and Sportsman of the Year Darvin Edwards compete on home soil, at this weekend’s League Challenge at the George Odlum Stadium/Hospital.
During the course of this week, Edwards will be doing a presentation with Paradise Water who graciously offered to partner with him on his journey to London in 2012. Paradise Water is assisting with contributions in cash and kind.

Sportsman of the Year and Olympic qualifier Darvin Edwards during a training session at the George Odlum Stadium/Hospital.

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