Sailor Rodney Govinden will lead the way as 10 Seychellois athletes go into competition at the Olympic Games in Brazil from August 5-21. President James Michel handed to Govinden the Seychelles flag he will carry during the Rio 2016 opening ceremony, calling on the athletes to give their best, fly the country’s flag high, and maybe return with an Olympic medal.Govinden, also the reigning Seychellois sportsman of the year, was among six of the 10 athletes who attended a sending off ceremony at State House. The sailor who booked his spot to the Olympics in December said he felt honoured and happy to be flag bearer and that he was looking forward to making the country proud.
Seychellois athletes will participate in six events: athletics, boxing, judo, swimming, sailing and weightlifting. The event with the most participants from Seychelles, an archipelago in the western Indian Ocean, is sailing. Aside of Govinden, in the standard laser category, two other sailors made the cut: Jean-Marc Gardette in RSX windsurfing and Allan Julie in the Finn category.
The other Olympic athletes from Seychelles are boxer Andrique Allisop, judoka Dominique Dugasse, high-jumper Lissa Labiche, sprinter Ned Azemia, swimmers Alexus Laird and Adam Viktora and weightlifter Rick Confiance. Aside from Julie, participating for the fifth time, and Dugasse, the second time; the remaining Seychelles athletes are making their debut at the Olympic Games.
The secretary-general of the Seychelles Olympic and Commonwealth Games Association, Alain Alcindor, said: “We expect our athletes to perform to the best of their ability since the Olympics is the biggest sporting event in which they can take part. They have to first of all be satisfied with their results since for some of them it will be their first Olympic Games.”
The Principal Secretary for Sports Denis Rose confirmed to SNA that the government is pledging 1 million, 750,000 and 500,000 rupees [$77,000, $58,000 and $38,000] for any athlete who brings back a gold, silver or bronze medal respectively. Govinden told SNA this serves as an additional motivation pushing them to give their very best at the international competition.