President Ramkalawan handed the flag to Felicity Passon. (Seychelles Nation)
(Seychelles News Agency) – Team Seychelles has been asked to get as many medals as possible in the upcoming Indian Ocean Island Games (IOIG) in a grand sending-off ceremony on Thursday at the National Sports Council Hall at Roche Caiman.
In her address at the event, the Minister for Family Affairs, Youth and Sports, Marie-Celine Zialor, said, “We have chartered three planes to take us there and back. When we return the cargo will be left empty for us to bring plenty of medals in them.”
Zialor said that “We take these Games seriously and that is why we are asking a lot from you.”
During the ceremony, swimmer Felicity Passon was announced as the flag bearer.
Team Seychelles will feature a delegation of 483 people among which 334 will be athletes. The Team is expected to leave Seychelles on board three chartered Air Seychelles flights on August 23 and 24.
Although preparation for the IOIG started late, there are a number of support systems that have been put in place. These include a full medical team with psycho-social support travelling with the squad. The hope is that it will put the team in the best possible mental and physical health to compete against the other six nations in the Games that start next Thursday with the football competition.
“It is a great responsibility that you have been given, to represent your country and you should give your best at the Games,” added the minister.
|During the ceremony, the athletes also for the first time paraded in the uniforms that they will be wearing throughout the games. (Seychelles News Agency) Photo License: CC-BY|
During the ceremony, President Wavel Ramkalawan also addressed the team and announced the monetary rewards that will be handed to medal winners.
“For each gold medal, a reward of SCR40,000 ($2,992) will be given to the athlete, SCR25,000, ($1,879) for silver medals SCR10,000 ($748) for bringing home a bronze medal,” he said.
The President also announced that he will be attending the opening of the Games accompanied by First Lady Linda Ramkalawan.
The flag bearer of Team Seychelles, Passon, also the Sports Lady of the Year 2019, said: “It’s always an honour for me to represent my country, especially as a flag bearer, and I am looking forward to a great opening ceremony in Madagascar.”
At the last Games in Mauritius in 2019, Passon, won seven gold medals, three silver and one bronze making her the island nation’s top performer in the history of the IOIG.
“Today is actually the first time that I feel the energy of the Games here and I am very excited to go and give my best for Seychelles,” added Passon.
While Passon has represented Seychelles at the Games on numerous occasions, for track & field athlete, Shahim Mondon, this will be his very first outing with Team Seychelles.
“I expect to make a good performance and set my personal best, as the minister said, and winning medals are definitely in my plans,” said Mondon.
During the ceremony, the athletes also for the first time paraded in the uniforms that they will be wearing throughout the games.
Aside from sports, there are a number of youth that will be participating in various cultural exchanges during the Games, and they also were able to showcase what they will be presenting at the games.