Adrian and Renika for front page of the newspapers says Minister Daniel by Curtis Morton (Click to enlarge photos)
A cocktail reception was held at the Pinneys Beach hotel on the evening of Sunday 1st May 2011. The event was held as part of a weekend of activities to honour two local athletic stars: Adrian Williams, two time Carifta Gold medallist and now record holder in the javelin and Renika Daniel who eclipsed her best time ever in the 400 meter event and in the process qualified like Adrian, for two upcoming international meets viz the World Youth Championships and the Commonwealth Youth Games.
The brief ceremony which was chaired by Mr. Alsted Pemberton, Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Sports, commenced with prayer by Mrs Carla Liburd and the singing of the National Anthem by the persons present. Mr. Pemberton warmly welcomed all present and reminded the audience of the exploits of the athletes at the 2011 Carifta Games.
Nevis Amateur Athletic Association (NAAA) chief Lester Blackett also reiterated the significance of the achievements by the athletes and challenged Adrian, that as he steps up to the Junior category of the Carifta Games next year, that in his three years at that level, he not only expects him to break the Carifta Juniors record of 72.04m but also to break the World Juniors record of 84.74m. He noted that Renika on the other hand had qualified for the "A" standard of the World Youth Championships in France and also qualified for the Commonwealth Youth Games in Ireland. Adrian also qualified for the two events as well.
He concluded with an appeal to ‘the powers that be’ to rectify a situation which he indicated has become a sore point in the organization of sports within the Federation. He noted: “While athletes from Nevis participate in the St.Kitts-Nevis team, there is no similar or comparable arrangement for management or coaching officials from Nevis - a situation which exists with most sports in Nevis today. The local body (NAAA) has been officially or unofficially, relegated to club status by the management body in St.Kitts….”. Blackett referred to the situation as ‘unfair and immoral’ and called on local, regional and international bodies, from Government officials in St.Kitts and Nevis to members of the International Associations of Athletic Federations (IAAF), to seek to rectify the situation which he indicated has been in existence for the last 25 years. He further noted that this must be done before the Government and people of Nevis embark on the promised 400 meters all weather track, due to become a reality by the year 2014.
Owner/Manager of the Gladiators Track club, Wakely Daniel was high in praise for the two members of his club and noted that as per usual, while his athletes are away in various competitions; he normally sends them a text message: “Don’t be afraid of greatness’. He noted that there are three track clubs in St. Kitts-Nevis that are in the upper tier and he named them as Pacesetters and Extreme Velocity of St. Kitts and Gladiators out of Nevis. He indicated that the criterion used to come to such a conclusion was the fact that over the past five years, the major representatives for the St.Kitts – Nevis team heading off to Carifta, come from the three named clubs. He also noted that the athletes from the three clubs normally make the finals and normally bring back the ‘hardware’. He also stated that the coaches must be congratulated as well, because in producing quality athletes like Adrian and Renika, it proved that Nevis has quality coaches and don’t need to import any from overseas.
Principal Education Officer, Mrs Lornette Queeley Connor indicated that the role of the Education Department must not be overlooked in the development of the two athletes and lauded the efforts of the two mothers present in Gwenneth Jeffers and Rovina Jeffers, who she observed would have been consistent in their efforts to help the young athletes to develop. ‘Behind every good child is a good mother’, she stated with pride. She asked the two mothers to stand to a rousing round of applause.
Minister of Sports, Hon Hensley Daniel noted that if sports are a celebration of excellence that was the reason for the gathering. He stated that the performance of the two athletes must do something to the National psyche - that the young people on the island must now recognize that they have the talent, skill and energy to perform at the highest kevel. He then made a bold statement following on a suggestion made earlier by P.E.O. Lornette Connor. He noted that the newspapers would normally feature the pictures of young people involved in negative behaviour on their front pages and challenged all the newspapers to feature Adrian and Renika on their front pages in their upcoming editions this week. ‘Not on the back pages - but on the front pages. When the young people are doing well these are the people who should be glorified”, he said.
Minster Daniel then presented a plaque to Renika Daniel and a crystal award to Adrian Williams, on behalf of the Nevis Island Administration and the Nevis Amateur Athletic Association.
The two athletes when given an opportunity to respond spoke very briefly in thanking their parents, coaches and all who would have helped them thus far.
A video presentation was then made compliments of NAAA chief, Lester Blackett after which the persons present socialized with the stars of the evening over light refreshments.