Minister calls for public ownership of new sports policy-Sports Minister Vincent Meriton’s New Year message


Minister Meriton

“Therefore, they embody the aspirations and wishes of all of us, we owe them and it is our responsibility to make them work.”

This was one of the highlights of the message Designated Minister Vincent Meriton, who is the Minister for Social Affairs, Community Development and Sports, delivered to the press last week while rounding off the 2012 sporting year and welcoming 2013.

Minister Meriton said that with 2012 being an Olympic year, a lot of effort was spent on getting qualification for the London Games. Six athletes represented Seychelles at the Games in swimming, athletics, boxing and judo.

Other highlights of the year included Seychelles involvement in the 8th Jeux de la CJSOI (Commission de la Jeunesse et Sports de l’Ocean Indien) in the Comores and the Jeux de l’Espoir in Mauritius.

Local sports federations and associations continued with their exchanges with countries in our zone and region and in a variety of sports.

A new athletics competition was launched locally within the framework of Physical Education and School Sports Strategy (PESS) involving schools from Kenya and Seychelles.

Minister Meriton said that to him the greatest achievement by an individual athlete last year was Lissa Labiche’s silver medal at the 14th International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) World Junior Athletics Championships in Barcelona, Spain with a height of 1.88 metres.

 She became the first Seychellois to win a world athletics medal.

At the ministry’s level, Minister Meriton said the year saw the continuation of the consultation process for the new sports policy and strategy which will be launched early this year.

The policy will ensure that the aspirations, needs and perspective of our sports community are taken into account.

“It will contain what the sports community, stakeholders and the people at large have been telling us and how they believe sports should progress.

 It is essential therefore that we continue to work harder to prepare our children, youth and athletes for the challenges that they will be faced with in future,” he said.

Speaking about the new strategy he said it had become clear that in order to reinvigorate engagement and participation locally and to sustain our performance on the scene, there was a need to realign existing strategies and approach and to do things differently.

The new strategy, he explained, will address the different changes in our communities, ensure that the population continues to enjoy an active and healthy lifestyle and further strengthen the governance of sports.

“As the new policy and strategy will be the property of each one of us, by taking ownership of the plan we will all play a part in achieving results and the positive changes we all want in our youth, or communities and in our society at large,” he said.

Minister Meriton added that some of the highlights of the 2013 season will surely be the CIJ (Conseil International des Jeux) meeting in April during which the sports disciplines which will feature in the 9th Indian Ocean Island Games in Reunion in 2015 will be chosen.

There will also be the seventh Jeux de la Francophonie in Nice, France from September 6-15. It is expected that Seychellois athletes continue to do well at these Games as the country won the javelin gold medal through Lindy Leveau-Agricole in 2005 and 2009.

At the sixth Jeux de la Francophonie in Lebanon, Leveau-Agricole, 30, successfully defended her title won for the first time in Niamey, Niger, in 2005, with a games record distance of 57.48m to improve Frenchwoman Nathalie Teppe’s old best of 57.44m set in 1994.

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