ST.Lucia emerged champions at the OECS Senior Track and Field Championships held in St Kitts and Nevis from July 5-6.
In winning the title, St Lucian athletes captured five gold, two silver and six bronze medals.
The gold medalists were Jeannelle Scheper (high jump), Talbert Poleon (400 metres), Rochelle Etienne (javelin), Marbeq Edgar (1500 metres) and the 4×400 metre relay team consisting of Rosen Daniel, Talberc Poleon, Corneil Lionel and Edgar.
It was first and second for St Lucia in the ladies high jump. Scheper, who is the Junior Female Athlete of the Year cleared a height of 1.91 metres, surpassing Levern Spencer who jumped 1.89 metres.
Spencer who is world ranked, is not accustommed to losing at regional champion-ships, far less on home soil where Scheper defeated her at the recent National Individual Track and Field Championships held at George Odlum Stadium. Either way, its St Lucia’s gain having two elite athletes in the same event. Hopefully they will push each other to reach the elusive 2:00 metre mark. Can hardly wait for their next showdown. More on that a bit later.
Poleon won the mens 400 metres in 47.72 seconds, Etienne recorded 36.56 metres in ladies javelin, Edgar set a new national junior record in the 1500 metres with a time of 3:56.69. He was also a member of the winning 4×400 metre relay team, consisting of Rosen Daniel, Talbert Poleon and Corneil, which established a new national record of 3:10.45.
Besides Spencer, the other silver medalists was Makeba Alcide who had a toss of 12.51 metres in ladies’ shot put.
The bronze medalists were: Corneil Lionel, 100 m (10.50), 200 m (21.15); Rosen Daniel, 400 m (48.76); Albert Reynolds, javelin (67.11 m); Makeba Alcide, javelin (35.20 m) and long jump (5.62 m).
After touching down at George FL Charles Airport Monday evening, team members received a warm welcome inside the VIP Lounge. On hand to greet them was Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Youth Development and Sports, Fortuna Belrose; Director of Youth and Sports, Jim Xavier and parents.
During his brief remarks Xavier said: “Today is a glorious day for track and field in St Lucia, as we are here to show our appreciation and celebrate success with our team.”
Following those words, with glasses raised high, Xavier made a special toast in honor of the championship team.
Belrose pointed out that during the past few months, St Lucia has been able to celebrate the success of winning teams, most recently the Under-23 Netball team which won the ECBB/OECS Championship.
With that in mind Belrose said: “We are quite elated in terms of the direction sports is taking at this point in time. The beautiful thing about it is, our young people are continuing to fly our flag high, continue to perform and as a country
we have a lot to celebrate. Despite all the challenges the country is facing, there are a lot of good things coming through with our young people.”
Of course Belrose couldn’t help but comment on what has become an intense rivalry between Scheper and Spencer.
Glossing over the results she said: “I understood that Levern who has been ranked number one in the world for quite some time this year, was defeated by our very own Jeannelle Scheper. I feel that is so significant in a regional event. It is significant for sports in St Lucia: two young female athletes who are going on to the Commonwealth Games to battle the world’s best for us.”
She didn’t stop there. “We just hope that the inspiration that you two can feed off each other, will deliver that medal that has eluded us for so many years.”