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Basseterre, St. Kitts, July 19, 2018 (SKNIS): Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Sports, Honourable Shawn Richards, has challenged adults to make a positive difference in the lives of the nation’s youth and help them to achieve excellence.


Deputy Prime Minister Richards made the remarks while addressing student athletes, teachers, principals, parents and other invited guests, who gathered at Government House for the 2018 Department of Sports Excellence Awards, held on Wednesday (July 18).


“This evening is a reminder that when you see the young man or woman on the street, who is smoking, liming, or in a gang, or acting in any way that is not socially acceptable, it is your opportunity to stop and make a difference as that young person can be the next Kim Collins or Trishanni Warner,” he said, naming two local sporting personalities.


Kim Collins is an international sprint star and the 100 metre champion at the 2002 Commonwealth Games. Trishanni Warner made history by becoming the youngest person from St. Kitts and Nevis to win gold at the 2018 CARIFTA Games.


The Minister of Sports said the success of the pair and other national athletes serve as an inspiration to their peers


“Our young people who choose sports as a vehicle for expression and success are giving hope to all other sporting talents and young people, motivating them not to give up on their talents and encouraging them to keep striving for a better life,” he stated.


Commendations were extended to the families, persons in the communities, and other institutions “for nurturing the symbols of hope for this youthful generation.” Government’s investment to enhance the sporting infrastructure was also highlighted.


“We have done a lot knowing that sports is one of the most critical vehicles for youth involvement, development and empowerment,” Honourable Richards said. “Between 2015 to 2018 – under the Team Unity Government – marked strides have been made in propelling sports in our Federation forward. We have made it possible for us to have representation at every regional or international tournament, upgraded community sports facilities, and assisted the national sports federations to empower our people in many facets of the disciplines.”   


The transformational power of sports, which teaches discipline, teamwork, perseverance, character building, and dealing with success and loss, as well as the ability to raise the profile of individuals and countries were cited as some of the many positives of sports.


“We must continue to support and invest in our young sports talent and remember to tell them regularly that they are capable of achieving greatness, making all of us proud locally, regionally and internationally,” the deputy prime minister said. “We must encourage them to give of their best at all times, [to] never cave in and surrender to fear, bad advice, economic or other personal challenges. We must continue to let them know that we appreciate, recognize and will reward their dedication, determination and talent.”    


The Third Annual Department of Sports Excellence Awards observed the theme “Celebrating Excellence, Inspiring Innovation.” Ninety-one awards were presented to recognize outstanding sporting performances by student athletes, as well as to contributors to the success of the department’s programmes.    

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