St Lucia’s contingent to Youth Olympic Games which took place in Buenos Aires, Argentina, left the island October 1 with high expectations – especially went it came to St Lucia’s Junior and Sports Woman of the Year Julien Alfred.
She delivered in a big way, becoming the one and only St Lucian to ever medal at the Youth Olympic Games.
The former Leon Hess Comprehensive Secondary School and St Catherine High School (Jamaica) student, is a multiple national record holder and the Commonwealth Youth Games women’s 100 metre (m) champion.
At the Youth Olympics Alfred clocked 11.23 in the 100 metre final, missing out on the gold medal by just two-hundredths of a second behind the eventual winner Nigeria’s Rosemary Chukuma. Third place went to Gabriela Analie Suarez from Ecuador.
Alfred was quoted as saying: “My dad past away five years ago and he always hoped to see me compete here today.”
For her it was a bittersweet moment, as October 17 would have been his birthday and that she had travelled to Argentina mere days after the passing of her aunt.
Meanwhile the Executive Board of the St Lucia Olympic Committee (SLOC) Inc extended congratulations to the young female sprinter on her achievement.
In a statement Monday night President of the SLOC Inc, Fortuna Belrose said: “Julien has really does us proud. She has won St Lucia’s first medal at the Youth Olympic Games. In fact if you recall, Julien has now distinguished herself as a junior athlete. She has won medals at the Commonwealth Youth Games – the first gold medal for St Lucia at the Commonwealth Youth Games and of course she has done it again this year winning for us a silver medal at the Youth Olympics. We have been at the Youth
Olympics for the last three times over the last 12 years. We are indeed heartened by this achievement for a young person. We trust than other young persons will see sports as an avenue to go out make themselves, their family and their country proud.”
Belrose took the opportunity to thank all those who played a role in Alfred’s success on the track thus far. “We are grateful to her coach Cuthbert Modeste for the work and effort that he put in to ensure she was ready for the event and to thank her family for their support during these times. And of course to the Athletics Association for making the recommendation. We really want to thank all the persons around her who really supported her.”
The SLOC Inc is in the process of planning a fitting welcome for the team when they return home Saturday afternoon at the Hewanorra International Airport.
No doubt about the SLOC is in a celebratory mood not only because of Alfred’s outstanding achievement, but also because of the International Olympic Committee (IOC), recently recognized the contribution of IOC member and Past President of the SLOC Inc, Richard Peterkin, by honoring him with the prestigious Olympic Order.
Belrose remarked: “This we see as reward and recognition for his work in governance and finance within the Olympic Movement and that’s another opportunity that we do have to celebrate. As an Olympic Committee we will continue to do all that we can to ensure our people in the movement and our youngsters, get the opportunities to compete and meet their potential and their aspirations through the sport.