"A host of stars" at the 13th International Athletics Meet


Saint-Martin will host its 13th international athletics meet on May 13 at the Alberic Richards Stadium. For nearly fifteen years, Calvin Bryan, the famous local coach and President of the Speedy Plus club, has organized the event in partnership with the Collectivité. During a press conference on Tuesday, April 18 at the Collectivité Hall, he announced the arrival of a "host of stars."

"This year, we will have a very large group of international athletes,75% of whom are Olympians," he insisted. Among the athletes who will be competing in Saint-Martin are the American Kristi Castlin, as well as Tahesia Harrigan-Scott (British Virgin Islands), Kierre Beckles (Barbados), Darya Klishina (sole Russian athlete who has participated in the 2016 Olympics), Alina Talay (Belarus), Libania Grenot (Italy). "I had to turn away athletes who did the 100 meters in 10’’15, although there are only two of them in France," Calvin Bryan exclaimed, insisting on the very high level of the athletes selected.

He also added that given the level, manual timing would not be appropriate: "we will have three electric timekeepers, one from Vieux-Habitant (Guadeloupe), one from Anguilla, and one professional from the United States with a double camera." This year, if the wind is unfavorable like in 2016, the direction of the track will be changed. Calvin Bryan also noted that the competition was again listed on the calendar of the IAAF (International Association of Athletics Federations). The president of the United States Athletics League, as well as the representative of IMG Academy, will be present in the stands. "The Saint-Martin meet has honed its skills and is now recognized," he stated before concluding, "we now must make it a tourist event."

This is precisely the intention of Daniel Gibbs and his team. In addition to wishing to "develop excellence by providing examples for youth," the Collectivité president would like the sport to become a vector for tourist development. "We must provide the necessary means," he argued before explaining that he successfully saved some costs during the last Territorial Council in order to be able to increase the participation of the Collectivité. The overall event budget has reached €400,000, and until now the Collectivité only planned to contribute €40,000. Calvin Bryan also counts heavily on sponsors.

In addition to its economic and tourist role, this athletics competition will have an instructional role this year. Annick Petrus, 3rd vice president for education, announced a meeting between Saint-Martin’s students and the athletes on Friday, the day before the international meet, in the sports center. "The goal is for them to meet and even identify with these high-level athletes through a question and answer session, and for them to realize that these things are also within their reach," she explained.

The international athletics meet will take place on Saturday, May 13, at the Albéric Richards Stadium. The morning will be devoted to the schools of the entire island and Saint-Barthélemy, who will compete in teams of eight with complete parity. Next will be the regional, inter-regional and international competitions. will be devoted to the schools of the entire island and Saint-Barthélemy, who will compete in teams of eight with complete parity. Next will be the regional, inter-region trials

Fanny Fontan