For the past 5 months I have been part of a movement in Haiti to bring track and field back to a country that has an amazing history in this particular sport. When you ask the majority of individuals why the largest stadium in Port-au-Prince is named Silvio Cator, you get responses such as, “He was a great soccer player”, or “I heard he died during construction of the stadium, so they named it after him.” The truth is that Silvio Cator was a Haitian track and field athlete that won a silver medal in the 1928 Olympics! To this date, his is the best performance of any Haitian athlete in the Olympics. And what makes this story ridiculous is that in the stadium they built and named after him, they don’t even have a track!
|Notice the many feet without shoes!|
In fact, Haiti has not held a national track and field competition in at least 3 years. They had 0 representatives in the 2012 International CARIFTA youth games, and while there were 3 Haitian athletes that competed in the 2012 Olympics, none of them were actually born in Haiti! As a result, many of the track and field clubs around Haiti had become defunct, children were not participating in competitions, and it was one less opportunity for the children of Haiti. Thanks to the work we have done in the past 5 months, this has all changed!
|The Best Track in Haiti!|
In June, ADAH, or Association pour le Developpment L’Athletisme Haitien was formed with the express purpose of developing competitions for track and field athletes in Haiti ranging in age from 10-25 years old. As the Vice President of ADAH I have had the pleasure of working alongside an extremely talented committee that includes both the Secretary General and Treasurer of the Haitian Track and Field Federation. Together, over the past 5 months, we have held 4 separate track and field tournaments with more than 150 athletes participating, and this is just the beginning! Our plans for the next 6 months are even more dynamic!
Starting in November we will hold both school and club competitions. In fact, the school competitions will be held in two sessions as a result of the over 600 athletes that are expected to participate! Over the next 5 months, these 600 athletes will compete in 6 tournaments. Furthermore, we will continue to have one club tournament per month, December through March. Based upon the first 4 club events, we have selected 10 athletes that will receive specialized training, and in January we will select 10 more athletes based upon the school competitions. These 20 athletes will have the opportunity to earn their way to the 2013 CARIFTA tournament in the Bahamas! ADAH has worked hard to not only create opportunities for youth to participate in track and field, but to participate and compete at an international level.
As ADAH continues to create quality programming, we are also in need of sponsors for our competitions, athletes, and equipment. If you would like to help ADAH continue to create opportunities for youth in track and field, please e-mail me, firstname.lastname@example.org. You can help ADAH return Haiti to track and field stardom. Let’s make it happen!