Two Grenadian athletes have signed contracts to become Digicel Brand Ambassadors as the telecommunications company continues to demonstrate its commitment and support for sports in the region.
The two are Decathlete 27-year-old Kurt Felix, and a young and upcoming swimmer, 5-year-old Delron Felix.
The agreement was signed with Digicel’s Chief Executive Officer, Ciaran Burke Monday during a brief ceremony held at the Radisson Hotel in Grand Anse, St. George.
“It is all about giving back to our young people and giving them the right support structures in which to thrive and develop, which in turn allows these sporting stars to continue to exceed even their own expectations,” said Burke.
“There are endless examples of this wonderful support across Digicel Group,” Burke added, pointing to assistance provided to world renowned track star and Digicel Ambassador Usain Bolt of Jamaica, since 2003.
Burke stated that Bolt has become “the fastest man in the world and an inspiration to millions”.
He stressed that “the much-needed training, equipment and funding enables a number of Special Olympics teams and associations throughout the region to attend competitions.”
The Digicel CEO did not disclose how long the sponsorship would last, the terms and conditions or the obligations of the two athletes under the agreement.
However, he wished them well in the next phase of their careers.
“You both have our assurance of Digicel’s continued support to help you both develop further in your respective careers. Delron – we hope to see you representing Grenada at the Olympics very soon. Kurt – bring home the medals!
“We wish you the very best of success in Rio and may God give you the strength you need in the coming months to be a major success like our other Digicel Ambassador Usain Bolt whom I know will help to inspire you all the way.
In an interview with THE NEW TODAY newspaper following the signing ceremony, Felix said: “It’s a wonderful feeling. It’s probably one of the best things I’ve experienced in my lifetime and I am glad for this opportunity that Digicel has given to me and I will try to take full advantage of this opportunity.”
The aspiring swimmer is this year entering a new age group and is now preparing to compete against competitors in the 15-17 age range.
According to Felix, his “main goal this year is to do well and hopefully medal.”
He also spoke of plans to try and qualify for the 2020 Olympics, which is scheduled to run from July 24 to August 9, 2020 in Tokyo, Japan.
Felix said while he would continue to participate in the CARIFTA Games, his ultimate goal is to “hopefully qualify for the 2020 Olympics.”
Games carded for Rio de Janiero from August 5-21) is done I am going to try to focus mainly on that (Tokyo 2020), added Felix who is a student at the Presentation Brothers College (PBC).
The swimmer also spoke of his intention to go overseas to continue with his training and to become a professional swimmer on the international circuit.
“Hopefully, I could get into a college in Florida but if not I would do CXC here and stay, spend two years in TAMCC and then look to go away and train,” Felix said.
THE NEW TODAY also spoke with Kurt Felix who praised the contribution from Digicel, saying “it will go a long way because as a Decathlete you have to try (and) get a lot of stuff…and the most important thing is therapy…to make sure that the body is functioning on a daily basis because it’s a lot of events to tackle within a week.”
Kurt, who hails from the village of La Femme in St. David, currently resides in Indiana in the United States.
He is currently in training to compete in the 2016 Olympics in Rio.
Kurt, a former CARIFTA) medal winner, acknowledged that he has been having a tough financial struggle in his quest for success as a decathlete but his “role is always to inspire” aspiring athletes to follow suit.
I have seen a lot of athletes taking into the events a lot more…here in Grenada especially. We have a lot of talented kids but we just have to expose them to liking and wanting to do the event,” he said.
President of the Grenada Olympic Committee (GOC), Roystan La Hee, commended Digicel for recognising the need to support the athletes and recalled the financial constraints experienced by athletes over the years.
“I’ve been involved in Sport administration for quite a long time now…all the way back to the 1950s and it pleases me to see the level of progress that we have made for Grenada at the international level…people who grow up now take it for granted what they get but they should know that 30 years ago very little was available to athletes.
“When I look at how our athletes are outfitted today and how they were outfitted before and I look and I see the level of clothing…it really pleases me to see that we have come a long way in sports. But as we go forward it demands also that our athletes get a lot of support and Digicel has taken up the responsibility of sponsoring these two talented people here. Sponsorship…swimming demands a lot but certainly, with the encouragement and the financial help that Delron would get I think it would do a lot to get him further advanced in his swimming career.
La Hee also used the opportunity to praise the accomplishments of Kurt Felix over the years.
Kurt won gold in Javelin at the 2004 CARIFTA Games, 3rd in the Decathlon in the 2014 Commonwealth Games in Glasgow, 2nd in the Decathlon event at the 2015 Pan American Games in Toronto, Canada, and 6th earlier in the year in the 2016 Heptathlon in the World Indoor Championships, in Portland in the United States.
The GOC president noted that “being a top level decathlete demands a lot (and) lauded Kurt as being the most successful decathlete that the Caribbean has produced.
“Kurt I think has been the most successful in the Caribbean and when I say Caribbean I am talking from Cuba right down to Guyana,” La Hee told the gathering.