Exclusive interview with Youth, Sports and Family Minister Marie-Celine Zialor |29 August 2023
‘Our young athletes are performing well’
The young Seychellois athletes at the 11th Indian Ocean Islands Games in Madagascar are performing well, and eventually the much-awaited gold medal will come, Minister for Youth, Sports and Family Marie-Celine Zialor told Seychelles NATION in an anticipatory interview before the gold medals of swimmers Felicity Passon and Simon Bachmann won yesterday.
She was giving firsthand impression on the performance of the local athletes after three days of competition.
The sports minister firstly noted that winning silver and bronze medals shows that we are not far behind the other countries in the region, but however need to put in the extra effort and surpass all the expectations and win our first gold medal.
A familiar figure at most sporting venues when Team Seychelles is competing, Minister Zialor explained that the atmosphere and the team spirit among the athletes are fantastic and that there is no doubt that the gold medal is not far.
In terms of the conditions of the athletes, including lodging and food, the sports minister said she has been receiving complaints on a daily basis, while she also noticed and experienced some minor hiccups which could have been easily avoided.
She however noted that prior to flying to Madagascar, athletes, coaches, and team managers were briefed on all possibilities that might exist at the 11th Games, and by now they should be ready mentally, and adapt to the situations, while putting prime focus on their respective sport.
Minister Zialor said she has been receiving complaints regarding food, lodging, as well as transportation.
She reminded the delegation that they are not at home and need to accept the differences in the standard of living between the two countries.
Minister Zialor added that the athletes should also take into account that Madagascar was not initially supposed to host the 11th Games, but decided to replace the Maldives, and in the process, the country encountered several challenges, including droughts, cyclone, without forgetting the Covid-19 pandemic.
She however noted that, as the host country, Madagascar will also try every trick in the book to try and demoralise opponents to come out on top, including sudden changes to match fixtures and venues.
Minister Zialor said, despite the various challenges, the team remain positive and everyone has been advised to find common solutions, while maintaining the high team spirit and morale.
“We need to adopt an attitude of finding solutions to emerging issues since we are not at home, and most of them are practically out of our reach,” said the sports minister who added that despite the challenges Team Seychelles is performing quite well, and the number of medals proves that.
Minister Zialor concluded that in terms of discipline, especially mental, we still have some work to do.