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Dominica names two athletes to Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games

The Dominica Olympic Committee (DOC) has released the names of its two athletes who will represent the Commonwealth of Dominica at the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games.

The Games which were initially expected to be held in July-August 2020 were postponed by one year due to the many issues and challenges arising from the unprecedented Covid-19 pandemic that continues to affect countries globally to this day. Notwithstanding the adversities, Dominican athletes both locally and abroad were able to recommence training throughout 2020 to 2021.

Dominica will compete in the sport of Athletics, with the 2018 Commonwealth Games bronze medalist Thea Lafond who hails from the community of Mahaut and is based in the USA securing qualification in the discipline of Triple Jump with a personal best of 14.33 meters in February 2020. Even though already qualified and despite the uncertainties surrounding the Games, Lafond continued to persevere and achieved another personal best this year with a distance of 14.54m. She is currently ranked number 12 in the world among her fellow Triple Jump competitors and will be the first female Dominican athlete to compete in two consecutive Olympic Games.

Lafond will be joined by Dennick Luke who hails from Portsmouth and is currently completing his tertiary education in Jamaica. Luke secured a universality placement in the discipline of 800m. Despite not achieving the qualification mark, the International Olympic Committee Games regulations, which support the development of participation of all National Olympic Committees, allows for the placement of at least one Athletics athlete in each gender if none are able to achieve the qualification mark which is referred to as the Universality Placement.

After a lengthy process conducted by the Dominica Olympic Committee and the Dominica Amateur Athletics Association (DAAA), guided by the rules of the World Athletics Organisation, Luke was determined the most suitably qualified candidate for the Universality placement given his ranking in the 800m by the World Athletics body, his vastly improved performance over the past 12 months which saw him not only achieve a personal best but also consistently maintain this mark, along with other factors. He will be the country’s first 800m runner competing at the Olympic Games since 1996.

The Dominica team will be led by Chef de Mission and Covid Liaison Officer Woody Lawrence, accompanied by: Coach Aaron Gadson; Press Attaché, Garvin Richards; and Physiotherapist, Kala Flagg. Billy Doctrove, President of the Dominica Olympic Committee, and Brendan Williams, the current Athlete Representative and Acting Secretary-General at the Olympic Games, will complete the team.