The Ministry of Sports, Culture and Community Development hosted a ceremony to welcome home eleven young athletes who represented Dominica at the 2022 CARIFTA Games held in Jamaica last week.

Two of the young athletes earned medals in their respective fields with nineteen year old Trenese Hamilton earning a gold medal in the Under 20 Girls Shot Put event while fourteen year old Addison James earned silver in the Under 17 Boys Javelin event.

The other athletes included Faithlean Kalima Simon and Kerelle Etienne who both participated in the Under-20 Women’s 100 metres and 200 metres race; Jemerly Lawrence, 100 metres High Jump; Nathan Telemaque, Octathlon; Malachi Cuffy 800 metres; Neo Davis 1,500 meters and 5000 metres; Joshua St. Jean 100 and 200 metres; Peter Daniel 100 and 200 metres, and Peterson Daniel Javelin.

Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Sports, Culture and Community Development Lucien Blackmoore explained that the Ministry could not allow the achievements of the young athletes to go unnoticed.

“The reason why we are here is to ensure that we give our athletes representing the Commonwealth of Dominica the greatest homecoming that we can, and in the same time to give due recognition for the sacrifice, the talent and the tremendous hard work that we know that they have done in representing the country. And of course we really want to show gratitude and to celebrate in your victory because your victory is our victory. You were out there representing us and we really want to ensure that this did not go unnoticed,” Mr. Blackmoore stated.

Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Youth Development and Empowerment, Youth at Risk, Gender Affairs, Seniors Security and Dominicans with Disabilities, Mrs. Sylvanie Burton stated that these achievements are evidence of the hard work that the athletes put in, even during a time when preparation was made difficult by the pandemic.

“Your achievement at these games is not only for yourself and your family but it is also for the entire Commonwealth of Dominica and you will no don’t serve as role models for Dominica and the rest of the Caribbean. You worked hard as we are aware that during the pandemic it was very difficult for all our athletes and sportsmen and women to adequately undertake the necessary preparations for these very competitive games. But you stuck to the tasks; you kept the faith and overcame the challenges faced and your tireless work to achieve paid off,” Mrs. Burton noted.

She went on to congratulate all involved in the achievements of the young athletes, noting that their names will be etched in Dominica’s history.

“This achievement is just the beginning of what you can attain if you truly set your mind and have the correct attitude and determination to accomplish your goals. Your names will surely be etched in Dominica’s history as not only having attended this CARIFTA Games but having showcased the talents of our Dominican athletes and having achieved medals for your country,” Mrs. Burton added.

 Minister for Sports, Culture and Community Development, Hon. Roselyn Paul encouraged the youth to participate in sports as it may provide them with new opportunities and career paths.

“You have made us proud and it is a really great comeback out of a covid lockdown to be boasting of gold medals and silver medals. So I want to really encourage our young people in terms of sports because this is a way you can build your character; this is a way you can receive opportunities on major career paths and to ensure that you continue to be positive. So involvement in sports open doors that you may never think of, and it gives you that opportunity to display and build on your raw talent and skills,” Hon. Paul urged.

The Sports Minister then reiterated the Government’s commitment to ensuring that the necessary sporting facilities are available to the athletes as they continue to hone their craft.

“As a Government, we are seeking to ensure that we can have the necessary facilities so that we can support your games and your training, and so we are happy as a Government to be partnering with the Athletics Association towards the synthetic track. We have identified the land in Picard and we commit to this partnership to ensure that we can put the necessary facilities in place so we can advance athletics and track and field and other related sported events,” Hon. Paul added.

Gold Medalist, Trenese Hamilton who participated in her last CARFITA Games, said she is happy and proud that her hard work paid off with a gold medal.

“It means a lot. I really worked hard to reach where I am. I worked my way up the ladder and I am really happy that I was able to end my series with a gold medal. It made my work really worthwhile,” Ms. Hamilton stated.

Silver medalist, fourteen year old Addison James stated that while he was nervous, he did his best and was able to make his country proud.

“Training was very hard. We had a lot of ups and downs but I dealt with it. Getting a silver medal, I felt proud that I was able to make my family proud and my country proud because it was my first time and I was a little nervous but I tried and I did my best,” James noted.