Chateaubelair born Calville ‘Oney’ Creese – also lovingly known as Dexroy – along with his swim coach Ricky Deane left Vincentian soil on Thursday August 12, 2021 in pursuit of gold medals at the Tokyo 2020 Summer Paralympic Games.
These multi-sport events are hosted at least once every four years and features athletes with a range of disabilities.
As part of the preparations for this outing, the Tokyo 2020 Playbook required multiple COVID-19 PCR tests, spaced at specified intervals, prior to the team’s departure. This criterion, like all others, were met.
Yet the team faced a momentary delay in their itinerary when time travelling vagaries impacted on their near-perfectly laid plans.
The National Paralympic Committee of St Vincent and the Grenadines announced that the “small team traveling to Tokyo Japan on the occasion of the Tokyo 2020 Paralympic games were held up in Turkey’s Istanbul airport with an out of date Covid19 PCR test result on August 13, 2021.
“This glitch has been known to occur due to long haul travel across some time zones.”
Rudolph Daniel, NPC-VIN president, contacted Julia Gunn, SVG’s Honorary Consul in Turkey, as soon as he heard of their plight. Honorary Consul Gunn, in turn, immediately acted to resolve the issue.
“We had in fact contacted Ms. Gunn prior to the travelers departing their home soil, out of simple courtesy and to inform her that Vincentians were to transit through Turkey on their way to Tokyo Japan.
“NPC-VIN can report with great relief that Honorary Consul Gunn was quite superb in managing and correcting the situation on behalf of NPC-VIN, thereby allowing the athlete and coach to attain the necessary documentation and to follow through the procedure which the Turkish immigration insisted upon to obtain an entry visa; whether or not it was actually required for entry of a Vincentian national.
“NPC-VIN president Daniel worked closely with Honorary Consul Gunn in the small hours of August 14, to effect a timely solution to the situation.
“We are hugely indebted to Ms. Gunn for her exemplary actions taken to get our sports men on their way especially as she was contacted in the early hours of the morning of August 14, 2021,” a release from the local NPC read.
Meanwhile a virtual welcome was staged by Mayor Hideki Takaoka of the Tokunoshima island in Japan.
A special kinship abides with these Japanese islanders particularly since cultural exchange relations have been established and exploited by both the NPC-VIN and people of Tokunoshima to date.
“We’ve visited schools there and two students from Central Leeward went on a cultural visit. They grow sugarcane and Mayor Takaoka employs persons with disabilities in a soilless culture to grow leafy greens as a sustainable project – something we want to do here in the long term.
“And it’s a place where athletes go to train because of the climate,” Daniel further explained to Asbert News Network.
Although a formal Memorandum of Understanding is still being fine-tuned, the Tokunoshimans are expected to “send a film crew to the games” in Tokyo to provide some video coverage of the Vincentian expedition into the 2020 Summer Paralympics being hosted in Tokyo.
The games will get underway on Tuesday August 24 and will run up to Sunday, September 5, 2021.
Before Creese could dive into his first heats event, the Vincentian team will undergo further conditioning at the Nippon Sports Science University; as part of the SVG National Paralympic Committee’s wide-reaching efforts to secure another win with Oney.