THE HAGUE–Eighty athletes, all students and young professionals, mostly from the Windward Islands, participated in the Dutch Caribbean All-Star Athletics Day of Unified St. Maarten Connection (USC) in The Hague on Saturday.
More than 100 spectators enjoyed the event, which was co-hosted by the student association Foundation Passaat. Eight basketball and three volleyball teams vied to win first prize. Most team members were from St. Maarten, but there were also some from St. Eustatius, Saba, Curaçao and Aruba, and a few from the Netherlands.
The basketball teams, Rebels, Wolves, Back to the North, Elite 6, Dem Boyz, Arnhem, Kings and Rush, were involved in a fierce competition under the watchful eyes of main referees Edwina Hodge and Cedinio Baly. The spectators on the balustrade contributed with loud cheers.
One basketball team came all the way from Groningen to participate. While there was also a team from Arnhem, the majority of the players came from the larger cities Amsterdam, Rotterdam and The Hague, who were spread over the different teams. Some of the basketball players compete on a professional level, which evidently had a positive effect on the quality of the matches.
The volleyball teams No Effort, May the Spike Be with You and SIU Madness had a smaller competition with fewer teams, supervised by referee Stephanie Horsford.
A new element in the programme was the obstacle course named “The floor is lava,” whereby some twenty participants, consisting of athletes, volunteers and members of the public, were not allowed to touch the ground.
Participants had to jump over and crawl under obstacles, swing from robes and use a hoopla hoop. “It is a lot of fun, something that everyone can do, and it involves a cash prize,” said Garard. The 5-euro entry fee went in full towards the winner of the obstacle course.
Dutch Caribbean All-Star Athletes Day was held for the third time. It is held every other year, and the earlier editions in 2012 and 2014 were also a major success. “It is great to see everyone having a lot of fun,” said USC Director and facility coordinator Christella Garard. “It is also a great opportunity for people to catch up.”
The credit for this highly-successful sports event goes to the USC board and committees, and the many volunteers that helped to set up and organise the different games, to keep scores, to serve food and drinks to the guests, and to clean up afterwards. In total 39 volunteers helped out at Saturday’s event, including 21 members of USC’s board and committees under the head event coordinator Raquel Chittick.
MC Diane Daniel smoothly took over the task of Melissa Gumbs, who had returned to St. Maarten since the last event. DJ Fiber made sure to play the Caribbean sounds to put everyone in a festive, tropical mood. Rigmara Petrona and Keisha Baly were ready to provide first aid, while Naomi Korstanje and Lourens Dhaese were present for the physical therapy. Luckily, there were no serious injuries.
This year’s Athletics Day was held in cooperation with Dutch Caribbean student association Passaat. USC Board member Cyriel Pfennings, in charge of Saturday’s competition secretariat, said he was very grateful for this contribution.
USC is a voluntary organisation and funds are direly needed to organise especially the larger events, such as Sports Day and the Christmas Gala. “We are looking for partners,” said Pfennings, who called on St. Maarten’s private sector to support USC.
A number of sponsors are already contributing on a continuous basis: BZSE Law Firm, Telecommunications Company UTS, accountancy/consultancy firm KPMG and White and Yellow Cross. Next year, USC will celebrate its fifth anniversary. The organisation has been growing and already has 1,200 members on Facebook.
Source: Daily Herald
USC organises third successful sports event