Over two hundred children, ages five to seventeen, registered with Kaina Martinez’s annual track and field games held over the weekend in Seine Bight Village on the peninsula, catering to children from neighboring communities and as far as Mahogany Heights in the Belize District. The children, who are aspiring athletes, are training in various disciplines and improving their athletic skills. News Five’s Duane Moody reports from the fifth annual Track and Field Games from Seine Bight.
Duane Moody, Reporting
Two hundred and five children, including aspiring track and field athletes, registered this year for the fifth edition of Kaina Martinez’s Track and Field Games held at the football pitch in Seine Bight Village. Over the two-day event this weekend, a whopping one hundred and seventy persons participated in short distance running, shot put – but improvising with a softball – and even, the basics of long jump, standing jump. A coastguard officer, an Olympian and a role model to many, Martinez is on a mission to provide youths with the basic skills and discipline to become better in sport.
Kaina Martinez, Organizer, Track & Field Games 2017
This game is to help inspire kids to not only have fun, but look within themselves, see what their talent is and I am a strong believer that sports give you a lot as an individual. It gives you discipline, it motivates you, it gives you determination…so I feel like using sports as a catalyst to do that would be an awesome idea. It’s not all about sports; it just happens that I am an athlete and people look at it from that point. But it is beyond that. It is helping to empowering that individual and it eventually goes to the community and from the community to the nation and from the nation, impact the world.”
Martinez says it is just the beginning for the youths, who have natural, raw talent. But there is need for investment and that’s what she and her team – including her family and sponsors – have chipped in to make a reality.
The games saw the support of many parents who say that there is a need for organized physical activities for children outside of the school setting, especially when it is teaching them goal-oriented skills. For Independence resident Delcia Palacio, she enrolled four of her children in the program, which she says is something positive for the summer vacation and keeps them active.
Delcia Palacio, Parent
“I decided to have them participate in this event so that they can be in something positive rather than for them to be at home doing nothing over the summer vacation. The event that takes place yearly promotes a lot of positivity among the children of Seine Bight and surrounding villages.”
Brad Stracener, Parent
“I have one child here; he’s Suzette’s and my son and he’s five years old and this is the first organized event that he has been in. I think it is a good practice, a good regiment for him to start in terms of working on a goal and trying to achieve it. And I think that’s what this is all about. It’s kids just starting out with setting a goal and knowing the reward of that goal—whether it is winning or just doing it.”
…but thirteen-year-old Arthur Benguche is dead set on improving his skills in athletics. A young track and field athlete, the Seine Bight resident wants to represent the country in international games.
Arthur Benguche, Participant
“I’m just out here to upgrade my speed and show everyone what I am capable of.”
“Now you’ve participated in games before?”
“Talk to us about what you’ve learned so far?”
“I learn how to race. I learn how to challenge other people and I learn how to upgrade your speed faster than someone. You can beat someone that’s faster than you once you believe.”
Meanwhile, Miesha Sanchez traveled the farthest distance to participate in the weekend games. The Mahogany Heights resident says it boosts her love for the sport.
Miesha Sanchez, Participant
“I love to run and I love track and field and it is an enjoyment to me.”
“Is this teaching you skills that you can take back and use as an athlete?”
“Yes sir because I have always wanted to be an athletic girl and I thought that If I do this, then it might give me a feeling to spread it out to the rest of my cousins.”