10th Indian Ocean Island Games (IOIG), Mauritius July 19-28, 2019 | 18 July 2019
Team Seychelles have landed and ready to compete
Team Seychelles for the 10th Indian Ocean Island Games arrived in Mauritius yesterday and despite the various hiccups leading to the Games, all the athletes landed with their head high, ready to defend the blue, yellow, red, white and green.
The majority of the 228 athletes (147 males and 81 females) and 97 officials were flown over by two chartered flights of the national air carrier Air Seychelles.
President of the Seychelles Olympic and Commonwealth Games Association (Socga), Antonio Gopal, who is also the president of the Conseil International des Jeux (CIJ) was part of the second delegation, along with the principal secretary for youth and sports, Fabian Palmyre.
In an in-flight meeting with the athletes, PS Palmyre urged them to give their best in defending the country’s colours, while displaying a high level of discipline, respect and responsibility.
He also urged the athletes to adopt a good sense of fair play and camaraderie without losing the focus on their main objective which is to win as many medals as they can.
Speaking on the Games, Mr Gopal said the main thing for now is that most delegations are in Mauritius and in the perfect spirit to compete.
He noted that the final technical and logistical aspects of the Games will be discussed and evaluated at tomorrow’s CIJ meeting.
Veteran female basketballer Simone Malbrook was part of the second group of athletes and she will be taking part in her eighth and probably last IOIG.
Malbrook said since it is probably her last Games and she is missing a gold in her medal collection, she will be all out to try and achieve that feat.
Being coached by her husband Michel and playing alongside her daughter Jana, Simone Malbrook added that she feels that if every member of the team do their part, nothing will prevent them from stepping on the highest step of the medals podium.
Gold medal winner in 2011 on home soil, Dominic Pillay has the task of leading the men’s national team to try and equal his own gold medal achievement of 2011.
Coach Pillay explained that they are well prepared mentally, physically and tactically, so they have an equal chance of winning the gold medal.
He added that the aim is to take and focus on a match at a time, with the knockout being the main target.
The football selection, who will begin their IOIG campaign today against Mauritius, along with the sailing and part of the swimming team left Seychelles on Sunday.
The first group of athletes and officials landed at the Sir Seewoosagur Ramgoolam International Airport in the morning led by the chief executive of the National Sports Council (NSC) Jean Larue, while the second group landed late afternoon.
Seychelles will be taking part in 13 sporting disciplines including handisports (athletics and swimming) and our football selection will be first to go in action when they face Club M of the host country Mauritius in their opening match today at 3.15pm at the New Georges V stadium in Curepipe.
Club M still chasing the ghost of 2011
There is still a big rivalry between the Seychelles and Mauritius selections since the 8th Games in 2011, when Seychelles won the gold medal on penalty shootout on a 5-4 score on home soil.
For today’s match, coach Gavin Jeanne and his young boys will be up against a whole nation inside the New Georges V stadium and surely the task ahead will be huge.
Club M have regained the service of seasoned coach Akbar Patel who has replaced Brazilian Fracisco Filho.
It was the same Patel who was in charge of the team during the 8th Games in Seychelles.
On his part, Seychelles coach Jeanne acknowledged that it will be a tough encounter, especially with Club M boasting a huge crowd advantage, but he however noted that his side will go out with all guns blazing.
According to captain Benoit Marie, Seychelles will be taking one match at a time and the squad is ready to face any opponent in their quest to grab a piece of silverware at the Games.
The squad however voiced out their frustration regarding the training ground allocated to them at Grand Baie, which they said is very bumpy.
This, they said, disturbed their training, especially ball circulation.
The accompanying photos were taken by photographer Patrick Joubert.
By Roland Duval in Mauritius