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Kirani James to headline Team Grenada for Rio 2016

 

The Grenada Olympic Committee (GOC) on Tuesday announced the names of the Grenada delegation for the August 5-21 Games. The team will consist of five athletes and two swimmers, along with their coaches and the Chef-de-Mission, Conrad Francis.

 

President of the GOC, Royston LaHee and General Secretary Veda Bruno-Victor will attend the Games and meetings of the International Olympic Committee (IOC), Pan-American Sports Organisation (PASO) and the Caribbean Association of National Olympic Committees (CANOC).

 

The team will be headlined by Olympic 400 metres champion Kirani James, as well as Bralon Taplin (400m), Decathletes Lindon Victor and Kurt Felix and the lone female athlete, Kanika Beckles (400m).

 

The team will also include two swimmers – Corey Ollivierre and Oreoluwa Cherebin. Both swimmers will compete in the 100m breaststroke.

The GOC secured wild card ‘Universality Places’ for three athletes – Beckles, Ollivierre and Cherebin after the two quarter-milers and two multi-events competitors achieved the qualifying standards.

 

James, who remains unbeaten this season, will be defending the 400m title he won in London. Along with Felix and Beckles, they are the only competitors returning from London 2012.

 

Taplin has had a contrasting but encouraging 2016 campaign and is favoured to make the final eight for the 400m final.

 

Felix is a seasonal campaigner and should motivate his brother Victor who won the 2016 NCAA Decathlon title.

 

Beckles has been on the mend following injury and rehabilitation and the young United States-based swimmers are expected to improve on their personal marks.

 

“The GOC has invested a considerable amount of money in the preparation of the competitors including those who didn’t qualify,” said Bruno-Victor.

“We expect that they will all produce their best effort as they fly the flag of Grenada during the Games.”

 

The Grenada delegation will begin assembling at the Athletes’ Village in Rio on August 1, with the opening ceremony set for August 5.

 

Meet this Olympian - Kurt Felix

Kurt Felix’s number one priority is to remain healthy and injury free for the Rio Olympic Games. He was bothered by an injury at the London 2012 Games which resulted in his exit after the first day. However, the former NCAA Decathlon champion, has had two consecutive years of outstanding performances. He picked up the bronze at the Commonwealth Games at Glasgow 2014 and then a silver medal at the Pan American Games in Toronto, Canada in 2015. He later posted his best ever performance of 8302 points at the World Championships in Beijing, China. Without any competition prior to the Rio Olympic Games, Felix is fixed on getting ready for the Games mentally and physically. He has been spending a lot of time concentrating on his ‘weak’ areas of competition while improving on the ‘better’ events. Felix, who graduated from Boise State University, has credited his local coaches Kerlon Peters and Paul Phillip and Jeff Petersmeyer and Christopher Huffins in the United States for his achievements over the years. Felix graduated from Boise State with a degree in Psychology. Name: Kurt Felix DOB: 07/04/1992Sport: Track Field (Decathlon)Coach: Christopher HuffinsSchool: Boise State UniversityPB: 8302 pointsSB: 7140 pointsWhere and when did you begin your sport? In 2004 as a student of Grenada Boys’ Secondary School (GBSS)Why did you begin this sport? Just friendly competition among some friends it turned into something more.Current coach(es): Paul Phillip, Kerlon Peters, Jeff Petersmeyer Chris Huffins.What year did you make your senior international debut? 2010What are...


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Meet this Olympian - Lindon Victor

Lindon Victor is competing in his first Olympic Games but as the highest ranked Caribbean competitor in the Decathlon. It has been an outstanding year so far for Victor who copped the NCAA Decathlon title to become the second Grenadian to win the championship. His brother Kurt Felix won the championship in 2012. Victor, the 2016 NCAA’s Field Athlete of the Year, is the national record holder with 8446 points and will be among the competitors in medal contention for the combined events. Victor is a determined competitor and could raise some eyebrows when he challenges some of the best in the world at the 2016 Rio Olympic Games. He is guided by his sporting philosophy “God Help Those Who Help Themselves”, something he hopes could be fulfilled on the world stage this summer. Victor is pursuing a Business Degree at Texas A M University. Name: Lindon Victor DOB: 02/28/1993Sport: Track Field (Decathlon)Coach: Kris GrimesSchool: Texas A MPB: 8446 pointsSB: 8446 pointsWhere and when did you begin your sport?Grenada Boys’ Secondary School (GBSS) in 2010.Why did you begin this sport? Because it was the first one introduced to me.Club: St David’s Track BlazersCurrent coach(es): Paul Phillip Kris GrimesWhat year did you make your senior international debut? 2014 Commonwealth Games in GlasgowWhat is your most memorable sporting achievement? 2016 NCAA champion Division 1 Field Athlete of the Year.Who are the most influential person(s) in your career? My big brother (Kurt Felix) Paul Phillip.Any major injuries? Thank...


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Meet this Olympian - Kirani James

Kirani James began competing in athletics in 2005 with his hometown track club SpeedZone Track Club in Gouyave, St John. James always had a liking for running and was encourage by his teachers and coaches who saw his potential.He was coached by Albert Joseph until Harvey Glance took over from 2010 at the University of Alabama. He made his international debut in 2011 which coincided with his World Championship’s title in Daegu, South Korea.However, his most memorable sporting achievement is winning Grenada’s first Olympic medal when he took the gold in the Men’s 400 metres at the London 2012 Olympic Games.James, who is unbeaten this season and with the second fastest time of the year, will be defending his Olympic title in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. He opened his season with 44.36 at the Chris Brown Bahamas Invitational in Nassau and has since moved to 44.08 to trail American LaShawn Merritt’s world leading 43.97.The Men’s 400m is considered to be one of the marquee events of the track and field schedule at the Rio Olympic Games. Name: Kirani James DOB: 09/01/1992Sport: Track Field (400 metres) Coach: Harvey Glance School: University of Alabama PB: 43.74 SB: 44.08Where are when did you begin your sport? Hometown track club, SpeedZone in Gouyave, St John in Grenada in 2005.Why did you begin this sport? Always like running and teachers and coaches saw potential in me.Current coach: Harvey GlanceWhat year did you make your senior international debut? 2011What is your most memorable sporting achievement?...


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Meet this Olympian - Bralon Taplin

Bralon Taplin is a self-confessed late starter to track after only taking up the sport at the age of 16 at Stony Point High School in Texas. But that didn’t deter his likeness for competition and desire to be the best. There were early indications that Taplin is obsessed with competition and he is out to prove that desire. After three attempts at championships and battling injuries the 24-year-old is aiming to become the latest Grenadian world champion, following the exploits of Alleyne Francique and Kirani James. Taplin is also second on the all-time list among athletes representing Grenada following James (43.74), Francique (44.47) and Rondell Bartholomew (44.65). Taplin said that he is never satisfied even when he is convinced that he has offered his best. There is always the will to win. Although he was born in the United States, Taplin became a citizen to represent Grenada, the birthplace of his grandmother. Name: Bralon Taplin DOB: 05/08/1992Sport: Track Field (400 metres)Coach: Pat HenrySchool: Texas A M UniversityPB: 44.38SB: 44.38Where are when did you begin your sport? I started running track in High School in Austin, Texas.Why did you begin this sport? I was bored and wanted something tp do.Club: New World Order (NWO)Current coach: Pat HenryWhat year did you make your senior international debut? At the Commonwealth Games and NACAC Under-23 Championships in 2014.What is your most memorable sporting achievement? Running 44.38 seconds at the 2016 IAAF Diamond League in Monaco.Any major injuries?Torn hamstring and kept out of last year...


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Meet this Olympian - Corey Ollivierre

Corey Ollivierre is one of two beneficiaries of the Universality places in swimming at the Rio Olympic Games. Ollivierre is a first time Olympian and is competing in the 100 metres breaststroke where his aim is to improve on his personal best of 1:08.39. He has been training at an Ohio gym and pool since December under coach Thad Shultz where he has been improving in the stroke mechanic. Ollivierre recently competed at the Caribbean Islands Swimming Championships (CISC) in the Bahamas. Name: Corey Ollivierre DOB: 03/16/1997 Sport: Swimming (100m Breaststroke) Coach: Thad Schultz School: T.A. Marryshow Community College PB: 1:08.39 SB: 1:08.76 Where and when did you begin your sport? In Grenada at a hotel pool at the age of eight (8). Why did you begin this sport? I think it was my parents. Club: Grenfin Current coach(es): Gerson Escobar Thad Schultz What year did you make your senior international debut? At the 2014 Commonwealth Games What is your most memorable sporting achievement? Silver medal at the Caribbean Islands Swimming Championships (CISC). Who is the most influential person in your career? Nigel Ollivierre (My father) Major injuries: Tendonitis (shoulder) 2008-09; Groin Strain 2014. What is your sporting philosophy? “If it is to be it’s up to me”. Sporting Idols: Cameron van der Burgh, Adam Peaty, Kirani James, Lebron James


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Meet this Olympian - Kanika Beckles

Kanika Beckles is the lone female competitor for Grenada in track and field at the Rio Olympic Games. It’s her second participation at an Olympic Games and will be attempting to better her performance in London four years ago. She has a season best of 52.48 seconds. Beckles has been hampered by a torn hamstring and Anterior Cruciate Ligament (ACL) reconstruction which side-lined her for six months in 2013. She is still on the rebound and has been improving this season. She considered her most memorable achievement was qualifying for the 2012 Olympic Games which she described as challenging but felt very motivated and the experience as great. “Athletics help me in every aspect of my life. I want to be an individual who encourages positivity and inspire upcoming athletes to believe in their dreams.” Beckles majored in Agricultural leadership and educational development at Texas A M University. Name: Kanika Beckles DOB: 10/03/1991Place of Birth:TrinidadSport: Track Field (400 metres)Coach: Vince AndersonSchool: Texas A MPB: 51.72SB: 52.48Where and when did you begin your sport?GrenadaWhy did you begin this sport?From a very early age I was involved in track and as I got older I realised how fun and beneficial it was to me so I started taking it seriously.Club: St David’s Track BlazersCurrent coach:Vince AndersonWhat year did you make your senior international debut? 2011What is your most memorable sporting achievement?Qualifying for the 2012 Olympic Games in London. It was a challenging year to begin with, however, I was very motivated and the...


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Meet this Olympian - Oreluwa Cherebin

Oreluwa Cherebin is the darling of Grenadian swimming and the top female competitor in the Organisation of Eastern Caribbean States (OECS). Ore, as she is commonly known, is swimming in her first Olympic Games, the second female to represent Grenada after Melissa Ashby at the 2004 Athens Olympic Games. Ore, who is inspired by Kirani James, will be competing in the 100 metres Butterfly and will be aiming to add to her outstanding swimming achievements including an improvement of her personal best effort of 1:08.82. The Fairfield University student has been in the pool since the age of two where all her siblings are active participant in the sport. She is highly motivated by the support from her family. Name: Oreluwa Cherebin DOB: 12/24/1997Sport: SwimmingCoach: Nataly Sihera Michael BrooksSchool: Fairfield UniversityPB: 1:08.82 (100m Butterfly)SB: 1:08.82Where and when did you begin your sport? Good Hope Swimming Pool in St George’s at the age of two. I was there with my brother, who was taking swimming lessons, and fell into the pool and had to swim.Why did you begin this sport? I like swimming and fell in love with the sport as soon as I learned to swim.Local club: Grenfin Swim Club.Current coach(es): Nataly Sihera Michael BrooksWhat year did you make your senior international debut? December 2012 in Istanbul, Turkey at the World Short Course ChampionshipsWhat is your most memorable sporting achievements? Winning gold at Caribbean Islands Swimming Championships in Cuba in the 50 metres...


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