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Ollivierre is holding on to hope

Ollivierre is holding on to hope


Seasoned Track and Field Athletics Coach, Vincentian Michael “Lord Have Mercy” Ollivierre, is holding on to hope that this year’s Carifta Games will come off.{{more}}

The April 22- 24 Games are in jeopardy of not being staged, after the original host St Kitts and Nevis withdrew, citing financial problems. Jamaica, the Bahamas and Trinidad and Tobago were identified as potential hosts, but they all turned down the offer, prompting fears that the Games would be cancelled for the first time in its 40 year history.

But Ollivierre believes that the Carifta Games, staged during the Easter weekend each year, is too important an event to let slip by.

“I am saddened by the fact that Carifta has not been confirmed yet and I am hoping that, between the governments and the governing body for track and field in the region NACAC (North America, Central America and Caribbean Athletics Association), they can find a way out,” Ollivierre told SEARCHLIGHT last Saturday morning, at the Arnos Vale Playing Field, during the hosting of Team Athletics SVG’s Relay Classics.

“We really, really, need this. It could be a big setback, as we could lose an entire generation, if we do not capture the Carifta Games and have some sort of continuity,” said Ollivierre, who has been a track and field coach for the past 36 years.

“It is a market place for our athletes, where coaches come down from America to look at our athletes, and for this I am very hopeful, very hopeful,” Ollivierre, a former national Calypso Monarch here, stated.

“ I don’t think that with people like Teddy Mc Cook, Austin Sealey alive, that they will allow this thing to falter in a year like this, which is World Championships year,” said Ollivierre, who spent a number of years coaching in Jamaica.

He said that he was aware that efforts are being made to save the 2011 Games, with the Turks and Caicos Islands and Guadeloupe among those likely to fill the breach.

But Ollivierre is not buying into the idea of a scaled down event, as that too would involve cost.

“If we do not get a host, it is better we do not have it,” Ollivierre said emphatically.

Ollivierre is back home, employed with the Ministry of Sports and the National Lotteries Authority.

He said that the annual Carifta Games, which is considered the regional Track and Field Grand Prix, needs a permanent sponsor, to ensure its survival.

The CARIFTA Games has provided international exposure for many of the Caribbean Track and Field stars, including Bahamian Debbie Ferguson-McKenzie, Barbadian Obadele Thompson, Trinidad and Tobago’s Darrel Brown, as well as current World and Olympic 100M and 200M record holder Jamaican Usain Bolt, and current rising 400M star, the teenaged Grenadian Kirani James. (RT)