Seychellois athletes prepare for Indian Ocean Island Games one year out
Seychelles will be participating in 12 events in the games in Mauritius in 2019. (Patrick Joubert)
(Seychelles News Agency) - Training by Seychellois athletes for the next edition of the Indian Ocean Island Games in Mauritius next year is intensifying with a little more than a year remaining.
“This year we are intensifying the preparation and all coaches have to submit their training programmes for us to know which ones will be going on overseas training camps,” said the director of sports development and management in the National Sports Council, Terence Barbe.
Since last year, some pre-selections started preparing for the competition, which is a multi-sports event held every four years among athletes from Indian Ocean islands.
Barbe said that the major constraint was that not all national team athletes turned up for training because of the clubs commitment in local competitions.
Seychelles will be participating in 12 events: athletics, badminton, basketball, boxing, cycling, football, judo, swimming, table Tennis, volleyball, weightlifting and handisport.
Athletes who participate in high-level competitions receive financial assistance said the president of the Seychelles Olympic and Commonwealth Games Association, Antonio Gopal. Eight national athletes have already been selected for training scholarships including the newly crowned Best Sportsman and Sports Lady of the Year, sprinter Dylan Sicobo and high jumper Lissa Labiche.
As part of the training, athletes will also be taking part in mainly two international competitions this year, the Commonwealth Games in Gold Coast city on April 4-5, and the Commission for Youth and Sports of the Indian Ocean (CJSOI) competition in Djibouti April 20-29.
The 10th edition of the Indian Ocean Island Games will take place in Mauritius in 2019 from July 19 to 28 and participating islands are the Comoros, Madagascar, Maldives, Mauritius, Mayotte, Seychelles including Reunion, a French Department.
Reunion had announced previously that it will not participate because of one of the rules in Article 7 in the games charter which it said was discriminatory. The rule stated that for all territories, it is sufficient to have the nationality of the country to participate, except in Reunion and Mayotte where you must be born or have licence conditions to participate.
The amended rule made by the International Commission of the Games (CIJ) in December last year, states that competitors must have the nationality of the island and have been licensed to play in a sports discipline on the island for at least 12 months.
At the last IOIG which took place in Reunion in 2015, Seychelles won 96 medals compared to 118 on home soil in 2011.
The director of sports development and management in the National Sports Council, Terence Barbe is hoping that with early preparations Seychelles can do much better.