Julien Alfred is Saint Lucia's premier athlete by far. Young, world-class, a proven winner already in many international youth Games, 2022 NCAA Champion in the 100M and the 4th fastest woman on the planet in that event this year.
Castries, Saint Lucia: The athletics of Saint Lucia- Julien Alfred qualified for the World Championships in Oregon as she is a champion, a record maker, a breaker and a medalist.
Julien Alfred is Saint Lucia’s premier athlete by far. Young, world-class, a proven winner already in many international youth Games, 2022 NCAA Champion in the 100M and the 4th fastest woman on the planet in that event this year. She starts her participation at the 2022 World Athletics Championships today, in Heat 5 of the 100M, which starts at 17:38 Pacific Time (8:38 pm our time) in Oregon. Let’s wish her the best today, as she has had an exhausting season.
Her personal best and season-best time of 10;81 is the best of all the athletes in her heat, and only Muriel Ahoure of Côte d’Ivoire has a faster personal best. Dina Asher-Snith of Great Britain is also in this heat, and I expect these three to get through to the Semi-finals tomorrow.
Given her following locally, it was not surprising that a series of posts by her sister, Juliana Hamilton, which was critical of the Saint Lucia Athletics Association (SLAA) management and provision of uniforms, went viral on Facebook and WhatsApp this morning. There has been no response from the SLAA, but her coach confirmed that all entries for her are in and everything is set for her to run. As far as he is aware, there are no challenges.
She certainly does not need these distractions, given the level of competition she will face in her quest for a medal, but the responsible parties involved should ensure that she gets all the support that she needs, especially as she is our lone competitor at the World Champs, and best hope for the future. Qualifying for this high-level competition is no mean feat, She is a star, and deserves our continued support and best wishes, no matter what happens.
There is a lesson in all of this for the SLAA, no matter what unfolds as the days go by. They need development policies that will produce more world-class athletes so that they can send more than one or two athletes to such events. Grenada is sending three athletes to the World Champs, and all three have strong chances of winning medals. SLAA also needs better communication about their athletes attending such events and should respond to comments on social media, to correct any misconceptions and provide plausible explanations for any shortcomings.
Negative comments on social media impact stakeholder behaviour. Not responding to criticism can make an organization look unconcerned, whereas responding actively, insightfully and professionally can turn adverse circumstances around and build a positive perception of the organization among all who are watching and supporting it. If you use Facebook to promote your organization, you have to respond to comments, good or bad.
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