St Lucia will be represented by a two-time Olympian and two outstanding collegiate athletes at the 14th IAAF World Championships taking place in Moscow, Russia, from August 10-18.
The contingent which is already in Moscow consists of multi Sportswoman of the Year and world ranked high jumper Levern Spencer who had yet another brilliant year performing on the European Circuit. She is also the Central American and Caribbean Champion in the event and that’s just the tip of the iceberg!
Collegiate Jeannelle Scheper who is highly touted as Spencer’s heir apparent is a high ranking junior, but this time around will compete against the best in the world including her teammate Spencer.
The third team member Makeba Alcide will compete in the heptathlon. She medalled at the NCAA indoor and outdoor championships while attending the University of Arkansas.
At a recent press conference held at Olympic House, Barnard Hill, both Scheper and Alcide were in attendance along with Team Leader Henry Bailey and St Lucia Olympic Committee General Secretary, Alfred Emmanuel.
Addressing the media the General Secretary said: “So far things are in place for our attendance at the World Championships. I am hopeful our team will do well. Our expectation is that the three competitors will be among the top 12 in Moscow, anything better than that would be most welcome.”
When asked whether or not they could achieve or even surpass the General Secretary’s expectation here’s what the two athletes had to say. Scheper: “I think based on my previous performances for the year it is very possible. I have no doubt that I am capable of jumping 1.95 metres (m) and I think that is what is required of me to make the finals. Hopefully I will be able to do that.”
How does she feel about competing alongside her teammate? Is it a plus or a negative? Scheper replied: “I think it is definitely a positive because normally when we compete together we push each other. She is a senior athlete and holds all the senior records. I hold the junior records so I feel we have good competition in that sense.
Alcide: “For me there is a lot of room for improvement in a few of my events. I have been working closely with Coach Henry Bailey to fix a few of them. Once that happens and it all comes together I feel I can finish in the top 10.”
She mentioned that javelin is currently her weakest event followed by the hurdles, but nevertheless is confident she’ll be more than ready by competition time.
“This is the biggest competition of my career,” said Alcide. “I am ready, injury free and I am going there [World Championships] and will put up a fight.”
Bailey is confident the three athletes can finish among the top 12. He said, “our first goal is to get both high jumpers into the finals. If we can do that then we would meet one of our first objectives.”
Of course the heptathlon is a whole different ball game consisting of seven events in two days. Bailey feels his athlete is up to the challenge.
“We hope that everything goes right for us on day one and two,” he said. “We have a very good chance of meeting our first objective, which is getting to the finals and being among the top 12.”