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May 30, 2001

Young athletes prepare for C.A. championships

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Thirty-three Belizean athletes; sixteen boys and seventeen girls, promise to show their mettle as they go for the gold at the Central American Infant Championships in Tegucigalpa, Honduras next month. Ann-Marie met with some of them this morning.

Ann-Marie Williams, Reporting

This is the fifth time Belize is participating and according to National Sports Council’s Executive Director Clara Cuellar, the athletes have prepared well.

Clara Cuellar, Executive Dir., Nat’l Sports Council

“Two weeks ago we had our national track and field event, and three to four weeks before that, every district had a district track and field event, which the Belize Amateur Athletic Association is fully involved with in helping us to determine categories, so that we are meeting what the federation needs are and the regulation should be for children to compete within their age category. At this time is assists the Belize Amateur Athletic Association in the selection process, because they’re able to view a far wider selection of athletes, given the limited resources and not being able to travel from south to north.”

The thirteen athletes who came to today’s press briefing represent mostly Belize City. The majority of the team, however, hails from the districts.

Eleven year old Mark Milligan attends Pancotto Primary School in Sandhill. His events are the pentathlon and the relay.

Ann-Marie Williams

“Tell me the different events of the pentathlon.”

Mark Milligan, Pancotto Primary School

“High jump, long jump, baseball throw, sixty metres and thousand metres.”

Ann-Marie Williams

“Is this the first time you’re going as a Belizean ambassador?”

Mark Milligan

“Yes, the first time.”

Ann-Marie Williams

“How are you expecting to do?”

Mark Milligan

“I expect to hundred percent sure come back with a gold.

Ann-Marie Williams

“And if you don’t?”

Mark Milligan

“I will feel very sad.”

Ann-Marie Williams

“But how about if you’ve done you best? Why feel sad if you’ve done your best? You don’t think doing your best if you don’t win is more important than feeling sad?”

Mark Milligan


Nicole Betson, All Saint’s Primary

“The sixty metre and four by six relay.”

Ann-Marie Williams

“Is this you first time as an athlete competing outside Belize?”

Nicole Betson

“Yes, this is my first time.”

Ann-Marie Williams

“What are your expectations?”

Nicole Betson

“I’m expecting to bring back some gold medals and I won’t let down Belize City.”"

Edgar August competes in the sixty metres and the relay.

Edgar August, St. Joseph’s School

“I expect to bring back two gold medals to make my mom happy and the school, so that I could go again next year when I’m eleven. So I practice on Monday, Wednesday and Friday, so I could run a little bit more faster.”

Alexander Evans, St. Joseph’s School

“Monday, Wednesday and Friday I go to the track, and after the warm up, stretches, drills and running, I work with the shot put, then Tuesday and Thursday and Saturday I lift weights at my house with my father.”

And this youngster’s father happens to be Coach Fred Evans.

Fred Evans, Belize’s Head Coach

“We have athletes here that we would expect to get at least a gold medal and athletes that we’d be happy if they get a silver or bronze. But just about every athlete that is going, has a fair chance of getting a medal and it’s not just medals, because they give points for the first six places. And then they tally the points at the end to see which country in the different categories, first, second, third et cetera.”

Raisa Staine, All Saint’s School

“I’ll be doing the sixty metre hurdles, the eighty metre and the four by eighty relay. I believe I’ll try my best. I’m not going to promise that I’ll bring back all gold medals. But I promise that my name will be something that they remember so that next time I meet them again they’ll look at me and say “we got to work harder because she’s coming out.”

The highlight of this morning’s event had to be a telephone conversation with Olympic champion Marion Jones. She offered good wishes for the game.

Marion Jones, Via Phone

“We prepared very well. Their job is to go out there and gain a lot from their experience in Honduras over the next couple of weeks and compete well. I think it’s necessary for everybody to get behind them and show them that we support them one hundred percent.”

The track shoes the athletes will be sporting at the Infant Championships, came courtesy of Marion.

Clara Cuellar

“We called to say thanks for the shoe donation which she did not announce to us. It came as a surprise and it’s not until Nike called me last week to say that the uniforms had been shipped out, so we knew nothing of those. She said in her mind that is a small token. The last thing she would like is for athletes to be concerned about equipment. They should be focussed on school and training. So certainly we continue to be very excited about the hands on approach she is taking to her involvement in this entire project.

Ann-Marie Williams for News 5.

Marion Jones has already held discussions with several U.S. companies concerning installation of a new synthetic track at the sporting complex named in her honour.

Viewers please note: This Internet newscast is a verbatim transcript of our evening television newscast. Where speakers use Kriol, we attempt to faithfully reproduce the quotes using a standard spelling system.

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