The Leeward Islands Championships series has over the years been looked at as an important link between the local competitions, be it Primary or High School Championships and the broader Regional competitions such as the Carifta Games and the Caribbean Union of Teachers meet. The majority of athletes in the Leewards have competed at this level in various member territories, affording an opportunity to field large teams in a sub-regional setting.
In 2010, the CUT Games will be held in St. Kitts due to the initiative of the President of the Nevis Teacher’s Union, who saw an opportunity to maximise on the participation of teams from St. Kitts and Nevis in a competition at the highest level and against regional giants such as Jamaica, Trinidad and Tobago and others. I applaud the Association for accepting the challenge of hosting this CUT Games as well as this Leeward Islands Youth Championship. It is my understanding that the Carifta Games may again be held here at the Silver Jubilee stadium in 2010, which would again allow thousands of sports enthusiasts to once again show their support for Track and Field in the Federation.
All the attending teams here today, that make up the majority of the Leeward Islands Athletic Association members, namely Anguilla, Antigua, BVI, USVI, Nevis and hosts St. Kitts (we are unfortunately missing the presence of St. Martin and Montserrat) will I am sure, make every effort to win the coveted Team Champion trophy. But as important, each athletes will win an award for participation, that being the honour of representing their island/country, in addition to individual event awards.
I wish to thank the local Association for their efforts in hosting this event and the sponsors who contributed to the hosting of these Championships. I wish also to express my thanks to the former President of the St. Kitts-Nevis Association, Mr. Raphael Jenkins for his efforts over the years, at a local and Leeward Islands level, Regionally levels and Internationally as well.
As this is my first opportunity to speak at this new stadium I also wish to express my appreciation to the Federal Government for constructing a world class facility for the benefit to the athletes of St. Kitts and Nevis and the region, and I expect their support as Nevis begins the process of catching up to the rest of the Leeward Islands by constructing their own facility hopefully by 2012.
We trust that the spectators will fully appreciate the effort of all the participating teams and athletes and, last but not least, as parting words of encouragement: Let each Competitor Soar for Excellence and Purpose While Embracing Victory. When we compete with one purpose, that of “excellence of effort”, there are no losers. Let us show our appreciation to these young athletes by giving them abundant applause during the course of the competition but by also applauding them now.
Leeward Islands Athletic Association (LIAA)