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On Sunday, October 2, the St. Lucia Olympic Committee (SLOC) Inc. hosted the local leg of this year’s TAFISA World Walking Day event, which saw nearly 50 people participating.
Defying the mid-morning heat, athletes and officials from various local sports federations participated in Sunday’s walk, which took the form of a relay. This year, Saint Lucia joined around 86 countries across all continents in the annual global relay.
Sunday’s walk began at 10:00 a.m. promptly, taking the following route: Starting outside the Castries Market, continuing up the John Compton Highway, turning left onto Mandela Drive and onto the St. Mary’s College entrance, before doubling back on Mandela Drive and ending outside Olympic House.
Along the way, the baton was passed on to point persons, with each person pledging their federation’s support for the walk and promoting a chosen cause.
Makeba Alcide, Chairperson of the Athletes Commission, said the walk saw good representation from the various national federations.
“We worked in collaboration with SLOC Inc. to host this event,” she said. “We had a really great turnout from our national federations. We had parents, athletes and well-wishers who came together so we could celebrate World Walking Day. Initially, we wanted two persons from each of the twenty national federations; however, some federations had more. So we had about 50 participants, including other people who simply joined in.”
On the importance of walking, Alcide said: “Walking is very important. We just saw during the height of COVID-19 that many people who wanted to do something took up walking. So for us to be able to celebrate World Walking Day with the rest of the world was a wonderful thing.”
Star table tennis player, De Andre Calderon, said the event also served as a social event to meet other athletes.
“I think the walk was a great success. I saw many athletes from different sports, including my fellow table tennis players,” Calderon said. “I think walking is very important for mental health, exercise and just fun, in general. So I advise people to walk regularly.”
Track and field athlete, Immanuel Francis, described the walk as “a very enjoyable experience”, and looks forward to similar events.
“I felt the energy around me and I felt it was enjoyed by my peers and other participants,” stated Francis. “It was a learning experience for all of us and I hope that everyone will continue to participate in the future.”
Meanwhile, track and field athlete and rugby player, Joy Edward, also enjoyed Sunday’s walk, noting her association’s choice of cause.
“It was a great walk. We walked for peace because it’s very important in sports. Without peace, you can lose focus mentally,” she explained.
Launched in 1991, TAFISA World Walking Day has provided a simple and fun way to be physically active and celebrate Sport for All against the global crisis of physical inactivity. Over three decades, millions of people from over 160 countries have made it a habit of walking together on the first Sunday in October each year, turning it into World Walking Day.
As the leading International Sport for All Association, TAFISA strives to raise awareness of the benefits of Sport for All and physical activity.
SOURCE: St. Lucia Olympic Committee. Headline photo: Some participants in the TAFISA World Walking Day event assembled outside Castries Market moments before the walk began on Sunday