V.I. Track and Field Federation Holds General Assembly, Elects New Board

(L-R) Wallace Williams, general secretary of VITFF; Amadeo Francis, senior vice-president of IAAF; and Ronald Russell, president of VITFF at one of many IAAF Congresses (Submitted photo)

The Virgin Islands Track and Field Federation held its Annual General Assembly VI over the weekend and announced the election of new executive board members who will serve for the next four years.

The newly elected are Keith Smith Sr., president; Mireille Sankatsing-Smith, general secretary; Irvin Mason Sr., St. Thomas-St. John vice-president; Alile Brown, St. Croix vice-president; and Daniel Da Costa, treasurer.  They were uncontested.

Ileta Potter was elected chair of the Track and Field Competition Commission; Kimlyn Etienne, chair of the Facilities Commission.  Outgoing President Ronald Russell, outgoing General Secretary Wallace Williams and former IAAF Senior Vice-President Amadeo Francis were given lifetime Virgin Islands Track and Field Federation honorary titles.

President Russell presented the introduction to the General Assembly, which included the official representatives of the member clubs. It was a thoughtful, passionate and reflective recount of the history of the VITFF, one of the smallest in the world, mentioning the pioneers who set the foundation for the federation beginning in 1963, such as former coaches and founding board members Julio Francis, the first president; coaches Cipriani Phillip, Mario Thomas and Walter Pankey, as well as past president and first V.I. international medal winner Carl Plaskett, among others.

He highlighted the successes of the federation in helping the development of student/athletes, V.I. National Teams for regional competitions like the CAC and Pan American Games and CARIFTA… World Championships and the Olympic Games. He stressed the importance of the fact that VITFF from the beginning to present has been and continues to be administered and driven by former V.I. track and field athletes.

Amadeo Francis, senior vice-president (retired) of the International Association of Athletic Federations (now World Athletics), sent a letter to the assembly recognizing the decades of effort of Russell and Williams as track and field athletes and officials.

“Dear Ronnie and Wallace

I would be remiss if upon your departure from the leadership of your federation, I did not formally acknowledge my personal and profound appreciation for your contributions over the past several decades during which the VITFF has achieved so many triumphs in our area as well as on national and international arenas…”

Williams noted that in spite of vacancies on the executive board that for the decades of stewardship through the collaboration of athletes, coaches, officials, Government of the V.I., supporters, parents, volunteers, the V.I. Olympic Committee, the International Olympic Committee, the IAAF (WA) and its regional affiliate NACAC/CAC, VITFF has produced for the first time Olympic finalists; the first woman to jump 45’ in the triple jump, Flora Hyacinth; Pan Am Games bronze medal winners Brion Morissette Pole Vault, 4 x 100 m relay Keith Smith, Derry Pemberton, Neville Hodge, Jimmy Flemming and Kevin Robinson; achievers of number one ranking in the world Laverne Jones-Ferrette 100m-200m, Tabarie Henry 400m, Muhammad Halim Triple Jump, Allison Peter 100m youth, Eddie Lovett 110m hurdles; IAAF World Championship medal winners Allison Peter 100m, 200m silver youth, Leslie Murray 400m hurdles junior; IAAF World Championships finalist Tabarie Henry 400m 7th and 4th; World University Championships gold medalist Eddie Lovett 110mh; numerous Pan Am, CAC, NACAC CARIFTA and CAC Cross-Country; IAAF World Cross-Country participants medalists/ finalists; college/ university national champions as well as regional champions.

He made note of president Russell on behalf of VITFF introducing the one-country-one vote resolution at the 1982 Athens IAAF Congress which was tabled and passed in Rome in 1987.  Williams also mentioned his presentation at the 1982 CAC Congress in Havana on behalf of VITFF as General Secretary the resolution to introduce the CAC Cross-Country Championships and committee for Road Running and Cross-Country.

Incoming president Keith Smith presented the gathering with spirited words as he introduced the elected board members who will lead the federation for the upcoming four years beginning January 2020.

“I am thankful for the opportunity to serve my Virgin Islands in this capacity. With available guidance, I will do my best to lead with integrity and transparency.”

VITFF voting members present at the meeting were: The Jolly Roger Track Club; Mary’s Fancy Track Club; Jaws Track Club; Jets Track Club; Cheetahs Track Club; The St. Croix Track Club; The Virgin Islands Pace Runners.

For information, contact The Virgin Islands Track and Field Federation by emailing [email protected].