Local sports once again halted by Covid-19 pandemic, interesting results on international front |31 December 2021
For a second consecutive year, sports in Seychelles were again halted in 2021 due to health restrictions as a result of the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic.
It was only during the second half of the year that sports activities were allowed, under strict guidelines issued by the health ministry.
A few individual sports disciplines including karting, darts and yachting managed to host several tournaments, while in the team sport category, only football and basketball resumed their activities.
At international level, the Seychelles national football won the Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa Cup tournament held in Sri Lanka from November 4-17, while bodybuilder Mervyn Dugasse won the men’s muscular physique gold medal at the Gulf Classic bodybuilding competition held in Dubai in early December.
Local sports get new principal secretary
In August, President Wavel Ramkalawan announced the appointment Ralph Jean-Louis as the new principal secretary for Youth and Sports, replacing Fabian Palmyre.
Mr Jean-Louis holds a Masters in Educational Leadership and Innovations from the University of Warwick and a Bachelor’s degree from the University of Sussex and he is a qualified and experienced International General Certificate of Secondary Education (IGCSE) oral examiner and IGCSE syllabus.
In 1991, Mr Jean-Louis started his career as a teacher with the National Youth Service. From 1999, he joined the Plaisance Secondary School as an English teacher and head of department.
He was later promoted as deputy head teacher for studies in 2010, a post he held until his new appointment.
Mr Jean-Louis brings with him a wealth of experience from working with the younger generation which will bring value to his new role as the principal secretary for Youth and Sports
He is an avid sports follower and has since 1995 worked as a freelance sportswriter with various local newspapers. And for the last five years he has also been contributing articles for the website of the Confederation of African Football (Caf).
Football: Seychelles win the Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa Trophy
Exactly ten years after winning their last title, the Seychelles national football selection made the country proud in 2021 by winning the Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa Cup tournament held in Colombo, Sri Lanka from November 4-17.
Prior to that exploit, Seychelles’ last piece of silverware was at the 8th Indian Ocean Island Games where coach Ralph Jean-Louis led the boys to winning the gold medal after beating Mauritius in the final.
Hosted by Football Sri Lanka (FSL), the Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa Cup tournamentwhich took place at the Racecourse Grounds in Reid Avenue, in Colombo also featured the Maldives and Bangladesh.
Seychelles started the tournament unbeaten with two draws in the preliminaries (against Bangladesh 1-1 and Maldives 0-0, and a win (1-0) against hosts Sri Lanka to finish top of the group.
In the final, Seychelles trailed 0-1 early in the match after Marvin Hamilton’s long free kick took a deflection off defender Don Fanchette to fly into the net. They managed to equalise with a header by Hubert Jean on the stroke of half-time.
Seychelles gave away another goal in the 50th minute as Mohamed Aakib volleyed into the roof of the net for a 2-1 score.
Qatari referee Mohamedh Alshammari gifted Sri Lanka as Waseem Razeek threw himself to the ground from inside the penalty in the box to con the official and he then picked himself up to shoot past goalkeeper Alvin Michel to make it 3-1.
Substitute Elijah Tamboo pulled a goal back to make it 3-2 in the 82nd minute and scored another later after skipping past goalkeeper Perera to slide the ball home to bring the score level at 3-3 and send the game into a penalty shootout.
Cœur de Lion second top scorer at Cosafa Beach Soccer tournament
Seychellois Hansel Coeur de Lion finished as one of the four second best scorers at Cosafa Beach Soccer tournament in Durban South Africa and won by Mozambique.
Although Seychelles could not feature among the medals in Durban, losing all their matches at the South Beach Arena, Coeur de Lion finished the tournament with five goals ‒ three against Angola and two against the Comoros.
Seychelles finished third in group A after losing their two matches ‒ 2-4 to hosts South Africa and 6-8 to Angola ‒ to finish bottom of group A.
2020-2021 football season cancelled
Due to the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic, the local football governing body took the decision in March to cancel the 2020-2021 season which was scheduled to end in May this year.
The competition department within the Seychelles Football Federation (SFF) in consultation with all registered clubs agreed that a new season – 2021-2022 – would begin in August with the Premier League teams playing in two pools ‒ Mahe and Inner Islands ‒ as well as the Championship (second and third divisions combined).
Chetty elected on Caf executive committee
Seychelles Football Federation president Elvis Chetty was elected to the Confederation of African Football executive committee as an ordinary member in March.
This was during the Confederation of African Football’s (Caf) annual general meeting which was held in Rabat, Morocco.
Barrister at law Chetty, who is serving his third term as the local football federation chairman, won 40 out of 52 votes to gain a seat on the executive committee representing the southern zone of Africa along with Botswana's Maclean Letshwiti.
Mr Chetty told Seychelles NATION that he is ecstatic of his election to this committee as he follows in the footsteps of honorary SFF member Suketu Patel who was the vice-president of CAF from 2011-2017.
As for the Caf presidency it was South African Patrrice Motsepse who was voted the seventh Caf president unopposed as all his challengers had pulled out of the race before the elections.
The 59-year-old South African billionaire has pledged to visit every single country in Africa in the next year, writes the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC).
Outgoing Caf president Ahmad Ahmad from Madagascar was barred from contesting the election due to a reduced ban by the Court of Arbitration for Sport (Cas).
Mr Ahmad was initially handed a five-year ban by Fifa's independent ethics committee last year, but after investigations and hearings from both parties, Cas found the Madagascan guilty of not recording various financial transactions, accepting cash payments, distributing gifts and misappropriation of Caf's funds to help finance certain federation presidents for their pilgrimages to Mecca.
His ban has been reduced to two years and he is also expected to pay a reduced fine of 50,000 Swiss Francs from the initial CHF 200,000.
Under his presidency, Caf registered a loss of US $40m dollars between 2019 and 2020.
Betsy honoured to join Arsenal as U23 head coach
“It’s an honour and privilege to be joining Arsenal as Under-23’s head coach.”
This was Kevin Betsy’s first reaction after his appointment as head coach of English Premier League side Arsenal’s under-23 team.
Seychelles-born Betsy has replaced Steve Bould, who left Arsenal at the end of last season.
Betsy, 43, started his coaching career at the Fulham Academy before joining the Football Association.
In his first interview to arsenal.com following his appointment, Betsy said: "This is also a club with a very strong current record of developing young football players for the highest level, but also placing an emphasis on producing well-rounded young people.
"I’ve had a tremendous five years working with the Football Association in vital roles across the England youth teams. During this time I’ve worked with many hugely talented young players and some amazing colleagues in a wide range of departments.”
Plaisance (Liverpool) crowned Seychelles Schools' Premier League champions
Plaisance (Liverpool) are the winners of the coveted inaugural Seychelles Schools' Premier League trophy.
The team who wore the colours of Liverpool were crowned the Seychelles Schools' Premier League champions after securing the title with one match to spare.
The Premier League-inspired schools league was launched on Thursday September 30 by British High Commissioner Patrick Lynch at his residence at Bel Air and the event was graced by President Wavel Ramkalawan, who is also the patron of the Seychelles Football Federation.
Foreign Affairs and Tourism Minister Sylvestre Radegonde, Education Minister Dr Justin Valentin and Youth, Sports and Family Minister Marie-Celine Zialor were also in attendance along with Seychelles Football Federation (SFF) president Elvis Chetty, National Sports Council chief executive Jean Larue and representatives of the teams.
Four young players travel to Portugal and France for observation training
Four young footballers travelled to Portugal and France for observation training with the hope of signing professional contracts.
Aboudou twin brothers ‒ Assad Rynno and Afandi Rynno ‒ travelled Portugal to train with Clube Desportivo (CD) Trofense.
Assad Rynno Aboudou and Afandi Rynno Aboudou play for La Digue-based side La Passe. They spent three months at the CD Trofense training centre where they only trained but also took part in matches.
Foresters FC’s Warren Mellie and Brandon Labrosse trained with Canet Roussillon Football Club and also had trials with US Endoume.
Coach Chua satisfied with Seychelles’ women’s football selection display in UAE
Singaporean coach Angeline Chua Ki Yi told Sports NATION she was satisfied with the Seychelles’ women’s football selection display during their tourney in Dubai despite defeats in their two friendly matches against the United Arab Emirates team.
Former Singapore international player Angeline Chua Ki Yi said “despite defeats our team managed to play according to our playing style which is most important for long-term development of the individuals. The team will grow and benefit from more international matches”.
Coach Chua has the task of getting the team feature on the Fédération internationale de Football Association (Fifa) women’s world ranking.
Before these two friendly matches, the Seychelles women’s team had played only three matches back in 2015 but they did not count as they did not meet the tier 1 game regulation.
A tier 1 international match means any international match in which both of the teams participating are the ‘A’ representative teams of the members concerned, or an international match involving a scratch team. All tier 1 international matches must be authorised by Fifa and the confederation(s) and members concerned. A competition that contains at least one tier 1 international match shall be classified as a tier 1 competition.
Against the United Arab Emirates who were preparing for the qualifiers for the 2022 Asian Cup for Women, Seychelles lost their two matches 1-4 and 0-4 at the Diab Awana Stadium.
In the first match on September 15, Natacha Bibi scored Seychelles’ only goal in the 64th minute of the first match to reduce the score to 1-2, giving her team hope of pulling off a draw. But the United Arab Emirates team, who had scored two first half goals in the 33rd and 36th minutes, netted two more in the second period ‒ 78th and 90th minutes ‒ for a 4-1 win.
Referee Camille, assistant referee Emile selected for Afcon
Seychellois referee Bernard Camille and assistant referee James Emile are among the 63 match officials selected by the Confederation of African Football to officiate at the TotalEnergies Africa Cup of Nations to be held in Cameroon in January 2022.
The list consists of 24 referees, 31 assistant referees and eight video assistant referees from 36 countries.
The tournament is scheduled to kick off on Sunday January 9, 2022 with the match between hosts Cameroon and Burkina Faso at the Olembe Stadium in Yaoundé.
Camille, 46, became an international referee in 2012 and has attended every Caf senior competition since 2013. He will be making his fifth appearance as a referee at the Afcon after 2013 in South Africa, 2015 in Equatorial Guinea, 2017 in Gabon and 2019 in Egypt.
“This is definitely my last Afcon and I hope to go out with a bang. I hope to at least officiate one of the two semifinals or even the third place match,” Camille told Sports NATION yesterday.
“Five Afcons in 10 years. This is a massive achievement,” he exclaimed.
As for James Emile, this is his first call-up for the Afcon after officiating at seven Council of Southern African Football Associations (Cosafa) tournaments, Afcon Under-17, Afcon Under-23 and African Nations Championships (Chan). He officiated in the finals of all these competitions except at the Chan.
The 30-year-old, who made his international debut five years ago, told Sports NATION that “the Afcon is another challenge and I’m ready to give it my best shot”.
Sports as a tool to contribute in the wellbeing of the community
With restrictions on team sports during 2021, more individuals used sports activities to make a significant difference and contribute in the wellbeing of the community.
Three individuals, namely swimmer Felicity Passon, runner Joel Melanie and canoeist Paul D’Offay were awarded with a shield as a token of appreciation from the government for their significant efforts in raising funds for charitable causes, as well as creating awareness, especially in the local fight against substance abuse.
With her ‘Mind Over Matter Challenge’, Passon, with the backing of the Ministry of Youth, Sports and Family, made and coordinated a charity swim challenge which will go towards a mental health project which she holds at heart.
Through the challenge, she collected funds from donors to fund an earmarked project which consists of extending psychosocial support to the general public through the establishment of a "Telephone and E-Counselling service" by certified professionals.
The support will assist affected individuals with a safe and confidential area to talk about their issues as well as providing them with coping skills that will have a positive impact on their lives.
During the event, she swam from La Digue to Praslin and back (approximately 15km).
Mr D’Offay, affectionately known as Fisher, on his part, firstly crossed the sea between Mahe and Praslin in a kayak as a gesture against the country’s drug crisis and to show how sports and other leisure actives can help to mitigate the problem.
He then endured several other challenges, including canoeing round Mahe.
At 70 years old, Mr D’Offay said he is ready to lend a hand through his expertise to encourage the youth to choose sports activities over drugs.
As for Mr Melanie, through his ‘Run for a Good Cause Project’ which started in 2018, he has raised significant fundings for various financially-struggling associations towards infrastructure development or other facilities to provide long-term support for Seychellois families and children.
Road to Paris 2024/Los Angeles 2028 project
‘Road to Paris 2024/Los Angeles 2028 project – Bring the first Olympic medal home’ is the new initiative towards winning the country’s first Olympic medal.
The new initiative was officially launched in November by the Minister for Youth, Sports and Family Marie-Celine Zialor, during a ceremony hosted by the Kempinski Seychelles Resort in Baie Lazare.
The new project will be led by the National Sports Council (NSC) under the aegis of the Ministry of Youth, Sports and Family together with the Seychelles Olympic and Commonwealth Games Association (Socga) and the sports fraternity.
Other than funding from the government and the Olympic committee, other partners are being invited to join in efforts and initiatives to support this project.
Commission de la Jeunesse et des Sports de l'Océan Indien (CJSOI)
The official countdown for the 12th Commission de la Jeunesse et des Sports de l'Océan Indien (CJSOI) Games scheduled to take place from December 4-11, 2022 in Mauritius has started.
Initially scheduled for July 16 to 25, 2021, the Games were postponed due to uncertainties linked to the Covid-19 pandemic in addition to changes made to the school calendar and the holding this year of the 2020 Olympic Games.
Seychelles will be represented in 10 confirmed sports disciplines, namely athletics, beach handball, futsal, boxing, weightlifting, swimming, petanque, tennis, table tennis, yachting, and basketball, while triathlon is still an another being worked on.
The official countdown was launched by Minister for Youth, Sports and Family Marie-Celine Zialor who noted that it is important to raise the level of regional competitions, bringing them closer to that of more high level competitions, thus making it easier for local athletes to bring more high level medals home.
She said from now on, selection will be based on discipline over talents and skills.
Minister Zialor further added that bad behaviour, both among athletes and spectators will be dealt with accordingly, something which she said will be carried out in partnership with other agencies, including the police force.
She further noted that in order to progress, we need to adopt an attitude of sports and values where discipline should remain as the pivotal element.
As president of the CJSOI, Minister Zialor conducted a strategic visit to Mauritius where she had the chance to familiarise herself with the CJSOI secretariat since taking over the presidency, while through discussion with her Mauritian counterpart Stephan Toussaint, various ideas for bilateral relations in the field of youth and sports came up.
Accompanied by local correspondent for the Conférence des ministres de la jeunesse et des sports de la Francophonie (Confejes) Michel Savy, Kevin Vidot who is responsible for strategy in the Ministry of Family, Youth and Sports, Minister Zialor also had the chance to visit most of the sports venues which will host the 12th CJSOI Games.
She also held several meetings mainly to get an insight on the preparations underway for the Games.
Minister Zialor noted that Seychelles is taking its presiding mandate very seriously and that there are plans to come up with several changes in order to transform and modernise the CJSOI, thus making it a more favourable platform for the youth of the region to better showcase their skills.
As for the ‘volet jeunesse’ part of the Games, a new approach will be taken, turning it into a better platform for youth development.
Other than cultural exchanges (dancing, singing and theatre) youths will be more engaged in academic dialogues and discussions around topics such as climate change or the blue economy.
More support sought for professionalism in sports
Seychelles, through the Ministry of Youth, Sports and Family, is expected to receive more foreign technical support in sports’ development including capacity building in human resources and the redevelopment of sporting facilities and infrastructure.
This will be possible after the ministry through the National Sports Council (NSC) had discussions with three sporting nations – Australia, Croatia and Hungary – participating in the Dubai Expo.
The chief executive of the NSC, Jean Larue, and Alain Alcindor had meetings with representatives of these countries. The meetings were set up following the visit of the Minister for Youth, Sports and Family, Marie Celine Zialor to the sports pavilions at the expo.
With Australia, the team from Seychelles discussed support for the development of water sports, technical support for athletes and capacity building for human resources mainly sports officials and coaches.
The team also discussed how Australia can assist Seychelles to improve its sporting facilities and infrastructure including the setting up of temporary facilities and outdoor gyms.
The Australian delegates have also offered their expertise to help with the design of local facilities and to also link Seychelles National Sports Council with relevant and key authorities in Australia.
There is also the possibility that technicians come to Seychelles to assess sporting venues and better advise the NSC on what is more appropriate for each region.
During the meetings with representatives from Croatia and Hungary, technical support for the development of volleyball and basketball was top on the agenda. Exchanges between the three countries were also discussed, with the NSC agreeing to take the lead and send proposals of types of exchanges that can happen.
Sports tourism was also discussed with all three countries, as the launching of sports tourism as a new industry is something that is a priority for Minister Zialor.
Karting: Delroy Lionnet named best driver
Delroy Lionnet is the driver of the year 2021 for his exceptional drive to win seven out of the eight rounds held this year.
Another two awards were handed out to drivers who displayed exceptional all-round abilities both on and off track, and these went to brothers Dean and Eric Maillet.
Fabio Williams was crowned the 2021 Intermediate champion with 227 points, with Loïc Scharfenberg taking the runner-up spot with 164 and Cedric Ah-Time third with 162.
Arth Shah became the 2021 Junior champion with 191 points, with Darrel Gabriel the runner-up with 166 and Tamnay Raghwani third with 150 points.
In the Cadet class, Delroy Lionnet was crowned 2021 champion with 223 points while his twin brother Enzo became the vice-champion with 177 and Johan Cadeau third with 142 points.
Bodybuilding ‒ Gulf Classic competition
Reigning bodybuilder of the year Mervyn Dugasse is this year’s men’s muscular physique champion, winning the gold medal at the Gulf Classic bodybuilding competition in Dubai early December.
The men’s muscular physique category is intended for competitors with slightly bigger muscularity than accepted in the regular men’s physique.
In the bodybuilding event, veteran Joelaine Valentin, 62, won a silver medal after finishing second out of two competitors in the masters over 60 years old category and Ahmad Moncherry was ranked third out of 10 in the 90kg class for a bronze medal.
The other local bodybuilders at the competition were Savio Larue (finished 5th out of 5 in the under 80kg category in classic bodybuilding), Terry Moncherry (finished 5th out of 6 in the up to 70kg category in classic bodybuilding), Rodney Henriette (finished 7th out of 15 in the masters 45-49 years old category in bodybuilding), Randolph Prudence (finished 7th of 10 in the 90kg category in bodybuilding), and David Lenclume (finished 9th out of 9 in classic physique).
Nichol Esparon, Monia Delpeche named best darts players for the year 2021
Nichol Esparon and Monia Delpeche are the best male and female darts players for the year 2021, thus retaining their titles.
Esparon proved to be a hard nut to crack again this year as he won all but one singles knockout competitions.
He triumphed in six singles tournaments, namely the Curtain-raiser knockout, Association singles knockout, National singles knockout, Association League singles, Bel Air Open singles knockout, and BG Open singles knockout.
When he paired up with Bernard Berlouis, they won the National doubles knockout.
The women’s title has gone to none other than Monia Delpech who started the 2021 season as the reigning female player of the year.
She was fourth in the Curtain-raiser knockout competition behind winner Nichol Esparon, runner-up Paul Vidot and third place finisher Terrance Hallock.
Naddy Jeanne, Anna Barra on Olympic-backed scholarship
Local athletics coach Anna Barra and judo trainer Naddy Jeanne were the newest recipients of the Programme d'Appui International au Sport Africain et des Caraïbes (Paisac) scholarships which is backed by the Olympic Solidarity.
Due to the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic, a hybrid online and face-to-face programme has been offered since spring 2020, allowing coaches to continue to improve their skills remotely.
The first phase of the programme took place locally between November 1 and December 11, while the second phase will be held in Montreal, Canada from May 2-30, 2022.
Through the programme coaches learn about performance psychology, physical preparation, long term athlete development and performance planning.
Coach Jeanne, who is presently in charge of the Etoile Judo Club, will be on his first ever Paisac scholarship, while coach Barra will be attempting her advanced level four certificate.
Backed by the Olympic Solidarity, Paisac is an African initiative of development through sport. It has been developed in collaboration with the French-speaking African sports environment in order to be able to respond better to the specific needs of its coaches and sports trainers. It now also operates in Commonwealth countries.
Basketball: HotShots, Anse Etoile, PLS Hawks Land Marine Cup winners
Almost two years after sports in Seychelles ground to a halt because of the Covid-19 pandemic, basketball lovers in Seychelles had the chance to see their favourite players and teams in action again during the Land Marine-sponsored cup competitions for women’s and men’s teams of divisions one and two.
HotShots (women), Anse Etoile (men division two) and PLS Hawks (men division one) triumphed in the finals played at Victoria Gymnasium.
In the women’s final, coach Philip Arissol’s HotShots beat B Challenge 47-31 to take home the title.
Anse Etoile triumphed on a 63-55 score against Cascade Bullets in the men’s division two final, while PLS Hawks tamed Beau Vallon 90-80 in the men’s division one final.
Defeats for Seychellois fighters at Aiba World Boxing Championships
In boxing, all three Seychellois fighters at the International Boxing Association World Boxing Championships 2021 were eliminated in their first fight.
Fabio Roselie was the first Seychellois in action at the Stark Arena in Belgrade, Serbia and he lost on points ‒ 0-5 ‒ to Jasin Ljama of Moldova in lightweight (60kg) category.
Keddy Agnes (super heavyweight, +92kg) and Shain Boniface (welterweight, 67kg) who had benefited from byes, were next to climb into the ring and recorded defeats in contrasting styles.
Fighting in the welterweight class, Boniface lost 0-5 to Cuban Kevin Hayler Bazain Brown (67-22). As for Keddy Agnes, he was knocked out by Bulgarian heavyweight champion Rumenov Petar Belberov with 2 minutes 26 seconds (2:22) left in the second round.
Bernardette Contoret is Seychelles’ first online chess arbiter
Bernardette Contoret is Seychelles’ first online chess arbiter after successfully following the Fédération internationale des échecs hybrid online arbiter training.
Ms Contoret followed the training via zoom conferencing seminars and there were some 30 delegates in her group. The course ran for four days and delegates had two hours of zoom session each day.
She obtained a score of 100 and can now practice as an online arbiter.
Golfer Adrian Andrade defends Championship title
In golf, Adrian Andrade sealed his win with a birdie on the 54th hole to finish with a score of 204 gross and defending his Seychelles Golf Club Championship title.
The Club Championship is the club’s most prestigious event on the calendar and it involves three days of stroke play format over 54 holes. This year’s competition started on Saturday October 30 and played through to Monday November 1, with 39 golfers battling out during this event.
Nanteniana Finesse loses by ippon at African Senior Judo Championship
Seychelles’ sole representative at the 42nd African Senior Judo Championship could not collect a win in the men’s -90kg weight category.
Competing at the Dakar Arena in Diamniadio, Dakar, Senegal, and with former judoka and coach Francis Labrosse in his corner, Nantenaina Finesse lost by ippon to Mintsa Diarra Adam Dalex of Gabon in a group C fight.
The fight lasted 1 minutes 43 seconds (1:43) as Dalex ipponed Finesse with 2:17 left on the clock of the four-minute bout.
An ippon is the highest score in judo and once awarded, it means the end of the match in favour of the athlete who scored it. An ippon is equivalent to a knockout in boxing.
Hervey Anthony heads new Motorsports and Classic Car Association
Hervey Anthony was named the chairperson of the newly launched Motorsports and Classic Car Association, registered under the provisions of the Registration of Associations Act on July 15, 2021.
The association’s vice-chairperson is Francis Mein, while the treasurer is Juna Hoareau and Edwards Anacoura is the secretary general.
Roche Caïman fitness trail gets new attraction
As part of its upgrading plans and to attract new trail users for the promotion of sport and physical activities and also promote natural healing, the Roche Caïman fitness trail now has a new attraction to its list of facilities provided.
A new reflexology, walking lane and steps station have been added, offering the general public an outdoor area where they could continue with their exercise programme, following the interruption by the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic.
The new facility also provides a unique opportunity for family members to exercise alongside their loved ones during rehabilitation, thus promoting family values.
The project has been conceptualised by the Sports For All Unit within the National Sports Council (NSC) and sponsored by Dr Murthy’s Clinic.
It was Dr Murthy Pillay, managing director of Dr Murthy’s Clinic and Group and also a gastro-physician and a local health entrepreneur, who inaugurated the new facility last Thursday in the presence of principal secretary for Youth and Sports Ralph Jean-Louis, chief executive of the NSC Jean Larue, director of the Sports For All Unit Francis Remie, medical staff of the NSC and Dr Murthy’s Clinic.
The total cost is R70,000.
Scoba to promote recreational and adventurous activities
To ensure that challenge and outward bound events are blended in Seychelles’ sports, a new association was set up this year to allow every member of the community the opportunity to take part in challenging games, sports and recreational activities.
The Seychelles Challenge and Outward Bounds Association (Scoba) which functions under the umbrella of the National Sports Council (NSC) will cater for most of the outdoor activities which previously fell under the Sports for All Unit within the NSC.
Its executive committee is made up of Andrew Paul (chairperson), Vivienne Vadivello (vice-chairperson), Christianne Commettant (secretary), Samantha William (treasurer), Jude Francourt (logistics), Mary-Joe Joubert (marketing and promotion) and Raymond Florentine (trail manager).
Sailing: Women and girls ‘steering the course’ in Seychelles
Seychellois girls and women were introduced to watersports on Sunday October 10 during the ‘Steering the Course’ women festival.
The event was free and took place at the Seychelles Training Scheme at Roche Caïman.
An initiative of World Sailing, the festival was aimed at introducing women and girls in Seychelles and the world to the sport of sailing, but in Seychelles canoeing and windsurfing also featured on the list.
The activities formed part of the women’s sailing festival ‘Steering the Course’ organised by the Seychelles Yachting Association in collaboration with World Sailing.
Leading up to the event, the Seychelles NATION newspaper, which has witnessed the progress of watersports in Seychelles, printed short stories about its history and also ran promotional articles about successful females who have graced the different watersports events.
Five athletes at rescheduled Olympic Games
At the rescheduled Games of the XXXII Olympiad in Tokyo, Japan, male swimmer Simon Bachmann lowered his Seychelles’ 200m butterfly record with a performance of 2 minutes 03.54 seconds (2:03.54), but his time was not good enough for him to progress to the semifinals.
Bachmann, who received an invitation from the Fédération Internationale de Natation (Fina) to compete in Tokyo, swam in lane number seven and was placed sixth out of six swimmers in heat number one won by Ayman Kelzi of Syria in 1:59.57 in the Tokyo Aquatics Centre. He was also ranked 38th out of as many qualifiers in this event. He got his previous Seychelles record of 2:04.00 in April 2019 in Rennes, France.
Third out of three swimmers in heat number one, Sportswoman of the Year Felicity Passon was ranked 26th overall out of 27 with a time of 2 minutes 16.18 seconds (2:16.18) in the women’s 200m backstroke. Passon’s time was almost three seconds slower than her Seychelles record of 2:13.94 achieved on Friday February 21, 2020 in the heats of the Durban Grand Prix inside the King’s Park Swimming Pool. The heats served as an Olympic Games qualifying event and Passon achieved the Olympic selection time (OST or B qualifying time) with her performance of 2:13.94.
The Olympic selection time for the women’s 200m backstroke was 2:14.30 while the Olympic qualifying time was 2:10.39.
Although Passon met the B qualifying time, she had to wait until June to see if she would make it to Tokyo provided the quota of 878 athletes was not met. She finally received an invitation, but unlike other invitees who only swim one event, she was given the opportunity to take part in two ‒ 100m backstroke and 200m backstroke.
Passon also failed to qualify for the semifinals of the women’s 100m backstroke. Swimming in lane two of heat number two, she clocked 1:04.66 to take seventh position out of eight swimmers. Overall, Passon, who was competing in her maiden Olympics, was ranked 38th out of 41 swimmers, while another two did not start.
Judoka Finesse’s journey in his maiden involvement in the Olympics lasted just 57 seconds on the mat inside the Nippon Budokan. The Praslinois lost by ippon (Kuzure-kami-shiho-gatame) after only 57 seconds in the four-minute fight against two-time Grand Slam gold medallist Marcus Nyman of Sweden in the round of 32 of the -90kg category. Kuzure-kami-shiho-gatame is one of the seven mat holds in judo.
Finesse competed at the Olympics after receiving an invitation.
Track athlete Ned Azemia performed well below his usual standards, clocking 51.67 seconds in the 400m hurdles. Running in lane number three next to Jamaican Jaheel Hyde inside the Olympic Stadium, Azemia was last in eight athletes in heat number two which proved to be the second fastest of the five heats. Azemia’s time of 51.57 seconds placed him 36th and last overall.
This was Azemia’s second appearance at the Olympics after making his debut in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil in 2016 when he clocked 50.74 seconds in the same event on August 15, 2016 for a then Seychelles record. He dipped below the 50-second barrier, bringing the new Seychelles record to 49.82 seconds and that was during the NJCAA Division I Men's Outdoor Track & Field Championships at the BG Products Veterans Sports Complex El Dorado, Kansas, USA in May 2018.
As for Laser sailor Rodney Govinden, he finished in 33rd position out of 35 sailors in the men’s one person dinghy class in the Enoshima Yacht Harbour.
Govinden registered his best finish ‒ 28th place ‒ in race number nine. He finished with 312 points (net 278) after his worst finish ‒ 34th position in race number four ‒ was discarded.
Govinden was the only Seychellois athlete to earn qualification for the biggest multi-sports event after clinching the Laser gold medal at the 2019 African Championship RSX and Laser, in Algiers, Algeria.
This was the second time in succession he had qualified for the Olympics. He made his first appearance in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil in 2016 and finished 45th overall.
The Tokyo Olympics were to take place from July 24 to August 9, 2020 but were delayed for a year because of the coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic.
Swimming official Paul Fanchette feels honoured to represent Seychelles
For many, competing at the Olympics is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity, but for swimming coach and official Paul Fanchette it is a different story. He has missed just one Games since making his debut in 2000 when he accompanied swimmer Kenny Roberts and Benjamin Lo-Pinto to Sydney, Australia as coach.
Four years later (in 2004) in Athens, Greece, he was there as coach for swimmers Bertrand Bristol and Shrone Austin.
He again made the Seychelles team as swimming coach in 2008 in Beijing, China and the two swimmers were Dwayne Didon and Shrone Austin.
After missing the 2012 Games in London where his daughter Aurelie Fanchette competed in the 200m freestyle clocking a personal best a time of 2 minutes 23.49 seconds (2:23.49) at the age of 14, coach Fanchette travelled to Rio de Janeiro, Brazil with swimmers Alexus Laird and Adam Viktora in 2016.
And in 2021, he was in Tokyo, Japan competing in the rescheduled Games originally slated for 2020 but postponed because of the coronavirus pandemic. This time, Fanchette was on the other side of the fence as one of the international officials as a member of the Fédération Internationale de natation (Fina) technical swimming committee.
Fanchette has been a Fina accredited official since 1993 when Seychelles hosted the Fourth Indian Ocean Islands Games (IOIG). He has been a member of the Confédération Africaine de natation (Cana) swimming technical committee since 2013 and since 2017 is the secretary of the Cana swimming technical committee which also qualified him since 2017 as member of the Fina technical swimming committee.
Meanwhile, he was one of the four referees at the Fina World Short Course in Abu Dhabi earlier this month.
At this same competition, Mathieu Bachmann was Seychelles’ top swimmer after smashing two national records previously held by Kenny Roberts.
Races took place in the 25m (short course) temporary pool installed at the Etihad Sport Complex from December 16-21, 2021. In the men’s 100m butterfly, Bachmann finished with a time of 55.43 seconds to be ranked seventh in heat number three and at the same time erase the previous national short course record of 56.62 seconds established by Kenny Roberts in December 1998 in Reunion.
Bachmann erased another of Roberts’ records when he touched the wall in the 100m freestyle heat number six race in a time of 51.03 seconds to be ranked eight. In the process, he erased from the record books Roberts’ previous record time of 51.56 seconds set in March 2000 at the Fina World Swimming Short Course Championships in Athens, Greece.
Still in swimming, Adam Moncherry smashed Seychelles’ 50m butterfly short course record after taking first place in a race at the Cape Winelands Aquatics Summer League 1 & 2 Swimming gala at the Continental swimming pool in South Africa on Sunday September 19, 2021.
He touched the wall in a time of 25.63 seconds, shaving 0.19 off the previous mark set by former Seychelles great Kenny Roberts since April 2002 at the Fédération Internationale de Natation (Fina) World Short Course Championship in Russia. Roberts’ old time was 25.82 seconds.
Moncherry is currently studying and training at the Stellenbosch University with coach Cedric Finch.
Laser sailor Rodney Govinden wins Trofeo Berberecho competition
In yachting, Laser sailor Rodney Govinden won the XIV Memorial Alejandra Fernández - Trofeo Berberecho competition held in Spain.
Govinden claimed six first places in the seven races to finish with six points for first place overall.
It was only in the fifth race that he was ranked fourth and that particular race was won by Pablo Reboreda Dia. Since the fourth place finish was Govinden’s worst finish, it was discarded, leaving him with six points.
Seychelles cricket selection fail to progress to regional ICC final
With only two wins in six games, the Seychelles cricket selection were bundled out of the qualifiers for the2021 ICC Men's T20 World Cup.
Playing in the sub regional Africa A qualifier at the Gahanga International Cricket Stadium in Kigali, Rwanda, captain Kaushal Patel and company could only register wins against Lesotho by 6 wickets (score card: Lesotho 131/8 in 20 overs and Seychelles 132/4 in 16.2 overs) and Eswatini by 7 wickets (score card: Eswatini 128/7 in 16 overs and Seychelles 130/3 in 15.2 overs).
The selection lost to Ghana by 9 wickets (score card: Seychelles 95 in 20 overs and Ghana 96/1 in 10.1 overs), to hosts Rwanda by 78 runs (score card: Rwanda 196/4 in 20 overs and Seychelles 23/5 in 9 overs), to Malawi by 21 runs (score card: Malawi 142/2 in 20 overs and Seychelles 121 in 19.3 overs), and to Uganda by 95 runs (score card: Uganda 164/5 in 20 overs and Seychelles 69/9 in 20 overs).
They finished fifth with four points in the seven-team standings dominated by Uganda who claimed victories in all their six games played for a maximum 12 points. Uganda and group runners-up Ghana (five wins and a loss) progressed to the regional final.
It was in April 2018 that the ICC granted full international status to Twenty20 men's matches played between member sides from January 1, 2019 onwards.
Therefore, all matches in the regional qualifiers were played as Twenty20 Internationals (T20Is).
The Africa qualifier started with a sub-regional qualifier consisting of two groups, with the top two teams in each group progressing to the regional final.
Teqball, a new sport discipline in Seychelles
Teqball, a football-based sport, played on a specially-curved table (the Teq table), was introduced in Seychelles and the sports is being administered by the newly set-up National Teqball Federation of Seychelles (NTFS) under the leadership of chairperson and president Jeffery Payet.
Lucas Georges elected African candidate at UCI
Seychellois Lucas Georges sits on the international cycling governing body’s management committee, following his election during the sport’s continental body’s elective congress.
During the Confédération Africaine de Cyclisme (Cac) elective congress, Mr Georges was elected as the Candidate of Africa at the Union Cycliste Internationale (UCI) management committee.
Birmingham 2022: 16th official Queen’s Baton Relay
In a historic moment on Friday December 24, the Queen's Baton Relay – which is a relay around the world held prior to the beginning of the Commonwealth Games – entered State House, accompanied by a group of Moutya musicians.
A significant moment in the country’s history since it’s the first time that State House welcomed both the relay and a Moutya orchestra, barely two weeks after the inscription of our traditional music on the representative list of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (Unesco).
It was Minister for Family, Youth and Sports Marie-Celine Zialor who started the relay, before handing over the baton to Vice-President Ahmed Afif who carried it inside State House where it was handed over to President Wavel Ramkalawan.
Also present to witness the historic event were Minister for Local Government and Community Affairs, Rose-Marie Hoareau; secretary general of the Seychelles National Institute for Culture, Heritage and the Arts David Andre, who is also the Mayor of Victoria; president of the Seychelles Olympic and Commonwealth Games Association (Socga) Antonio Gopal; principal secretary for Youth and Sports, Ralph Jean-Louis and secretary general of Socga Alain Alcindor.
Seychelles was the 21st country – last in Africa, after Lesotho – that hosted the baton which went to Pakistan next.
The baton also journey through Mahe, Praslin and La Digue
They left us this year ….
Female marathon record holder Simone Zapha, former footballer Alex Bistoé, former badminton player Nicholas Jumaye, former footballer Alva Woodcock, former footballer Daphne Laporte, and former basketball player and coach Robinson Boniface, more affectionately known as Butterfly, all left us this year.
Compiled by Roland Duval