High school and sports teams from nearby islands will be coming to Saba late May for the Inter-Island Sports Competition. The four-day event is a joint venture between the Saba Comprehensive School (SCS), the Public Entity Saba and the Saba United Sports Federation.
Teams can compete in sports like soccer, volleyball, basketball, track and field, open water swimming and running. Some 200 participants, youngsters and coaches, have already signed up from Saba, St. Maarten, St. Eustatius and Anguilla. Also invited have been St. Martin, St. Barth and St. Kitts & Nevis.
The opening ceremony takes place on Thursday afternoon, May 30, at the Johan Cruyff Field, followed by two opening games: a male soccer match where SCS will play against the Caribbean International Academy (CIA) from St. Maarten, and a female soccer match where SCS will play against Anguilla.
On Friday, May 31, the Sea to SCS Island Relay Race will take place, as an alternative to the Sea to Scenery Race which is held close to Saba Day. Also, on that day volleyball, basketball and soccer matches will take place. The basketball and volleyball matches take place at the schools’ gym, while the soccer match is at the Field.
On Saturday morning, June 1, there will be open water swimming at the Fort Bay Harbor, as well as track and field with high jump at the Field. Both the open water swimming and the track and field will have a male and female competition. In the early afternoon, the soccer match takes place at the Field, followed by the volleyball finals at the gym, and in the evening the basketball finals.
The soccer finals take place on Sunday morning June 2, again at the Field, followed right after by the awards and closing ceremony. The teams from the other islands will leave that same afternoon. During the events on all four days, there will be food and drinks for sale, both at the Field and at the SCS. The event will be alcohol-free and free of disposable plastics as much as possible.
Commissioner of Culture, Sports and Youth Affairs Rolando Wilson encouraged the community to come out to support the long weekend events. “Let’s welcome the youngsters, their guardians and coaches to the shores of Saba. As islands we all form part of the Caribbean. We are brothers and sisters, and it is important to get together and exchange ideas. As Commissioner I want to create links with the other Caribbean islands, especially the Dutch Caribbean islands, to foster economic, social and cultural development, while promoting sports vigorously,” he said.
The idea to have a sports competition between the islands was born late 2018 as an initiative of SCS. “Our students miss taking part in competitions, especially in soccer. This led to some unhappy faces. So, we decided to do something about that,” said SCS Director Anton Hermans, who together with Peter Johnson, Angela van Marris (both of SCS) and sports facilitator of the Public Entity Saba Joelyn Robinson sits on the organizing committee. Overall coordinator is Shaigan Marten, also of SCS.
The Inter-Island Sports Competition will give Saba students the opportunity to experience the competitive element and to foster social exchange with youngsters from the other islands. Also, the event will help to boost Saba’s tourism and serve to promote a healthy life style.
“It is a perfect idea, also because the students so far didn’t have the opportunity to take part in such a large sports event,” said government sports facilitator Robinson. Overall coordinator Marten said the event inspires the students to work hard to achieve, while they learn the concept of competition.
The visiting teams will sleep at Sunny Valley Youth Center and the community center at Zion’s Hill. Two hotels are available with special rates: Scout’s Place and El Momo. Ferry services Big B, The Edge and Dawn II are offering special rates, while Winair will have group rates.
Overall coordinator Marten and the organizing committee are currently working out the logistics. The organization is looking for volunteers. The different clubs at SCS, including the cooking club, the debating club, the music/DJ club and the Junior Emergency Response Team, will be participating in the event and contribute to the program to make it successful. The Community Development Department of the Public Entity Saba will be sponsoring breakfast on three competition days, Friday, Saturday and Sunday.