Spencer gets royal treatment

Levern Spencer (center) with Minister for Youth Development and Sports Shawn Edwards and Minister of Health and Gender Relations Alvina Reynolds.

Levern Spencer (center) with Minister for Youth Development and Sports Shawn Edwards and Minister of Health and Gender Relations Alvina Reynolds.

“The Queen has landed.” That’s how Minister of Health and Gender Relations, Alvina Reynolds acknowledged St Lucia’s Sportswoman of the Year, Levern Spencer following her recent arrival at Hewanorra International Airport.

Spencer who lives in the Babonneau area was caught off guard, by what turned out to be a home coming initiated by Reynolds who is her District Representative.

Following her arrival, Spencer received a bouquet of flowers from Sports Officer Claudia Jn Baptiste. She was later escorted to the VIP Lounge and greeted by Reynolds along with Minister for Youth Development and Sports, Shawn Edward; Director of Youth and Sports, Victor Reid along with other ministry officials; and her Manager, Gregory Dixon. Schools Sports Coordinator, Clivus Jules chaired the proceedings.

Minister Reynolds is especially proud that Spencer is from her own constituency. During her brief remarks she said “Levern deserves a place of honour in St Lucia.”

Reynolds marvelled at the fact Spencer garnered nine gold medals at competitions in the United States and Europe this year and said: “It makes me feel so proud as somebody born and raised in Babonneau, is able to lift my head high to a young woman with virtues and values young people can emulate.”

Humility and strong religious beliefs are among the qualities the minister admires most about Spencer. “She shows us how it’s done,” said Reynolds. “In spite of everything she puts her trust in a greater person and she serves her community with class.”

Before signing off Reynolds gave Spencer the royal treatment with the following words: “Once again my queen I bow before thee and I say to you, welcome home and thank you for all you have done for Babonneau and St Lucia by extension.”

Minister Edwards congratulated Spencer on her success this year and said: “Once sportsmen and women in St Lucia are prepared to excel and go out and represent our country with pride and dignity, the government will be there to provide support.”

He went on to say “support does not always have to manifest itself in the form of a cheque or money, but I want you to know that at the highest level of government you have our support. We will spare no effort in the ministry to ensure that you and other elite athletes get the support and the backing of government as they go out to compete on the world stage.”

Spencer continues to compete as a professional on the world stage and following a disappointing 2012 made up for it this year. She thanked everyone who organized the welcome ceremony and said: “It was nothing I was expecting and it showed me that athletes are not forgotten and our achievements are being recognized. It is a good feeling coming home seeing everybody and not being left in the dark, so I really appreciate it.”

Looking back to what has been a productive year, the world class high jumper said: “The 2013 season was a great one, in the sense that I performed a lot better than 2012. I competed in almost 20 meets and jumped at least 1.90 metres or above in at least 10 of my competitions and consistently placed in the top three in most of my events.”

The highlights and there were many, included setting a new CAC record along with achieving the A standard for the World Championships in Russia, where she earned a spot in the finals.

Coming home with a medal was her goal at the World Championships however things did not go her way. Leading up to the competition Spencer told me “I trained hard and was prepared mentally and physically but I guess it was just not meant to be.

There are many who feel the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio will be Spencer’s last hurrah. Not necessarily so. “I am taking one step at a time and looking forward to Rio,” said the world class high jumper. After that it depends on my body and how it holds up. Everybody is different, maybe I could go to another Olympics after Rio but we will see how it goes.”

By her own account 2013 it was one of her most successful years in competition.

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