In front of packed stands and jubilant spectators there for the third day of the CARIFTA Games, and in the presence of officials including Sir Kennedy Simmonds, the nation’s first prime minister, current Prime Minister Dr. Timothy Harris said the legacy of Kim Collins goes beyond his accomplishments on the track.
“Collins legacy, as far as our country is concerned, is his ability to unite all,” said Prime Minister Harris, as he made reference to the unity of the country when Collins became world champion in 2003.
“Never before had we seen persons from all walks of life and political persuasion come together in one accord to recognize and show love to our first World Champion,” said Harris, adding, “It is at that time that we all appreciated the significance and possibilities of a united country of St. Kitts and Nevis.”
Continuing on the theme of Collins’ legacy, the prime minister said the life of Collins shows that “everyone can have a dream… that all things are possible… that he had a dream… and he then put forth the effort to ensure that dream would come to fruition… That is the model for success that I want all the young people in our federation to adopt,” Prime Minister Harris said.
The minister responsible for sports, Deputy Prime Minister Shawn Richards, congratulated Collins on behalf of the Government and the Ministry of Sports.
“This is an honour that is well deserved. This is an honour that creates a legacy here in St. Kitts and Nevis for all of us,” Minister Shawn stated, and called upon young athletes to emulate the life of Collins.
“To all of the young people participating here in the 44th CARIFTA Games, we say to you that Kim is a young man, who not only you can emulate on the field, but a young man who you can emulate in all spheres of your life,” said Richards, who explained to the young athletes that Collins’ experiences prove that sports and a good education could coexist.
Responding to the accolades bestowed upon him, Collins thanked Almighty God for his protection and success, as well as his mother, who had a great influence on his life, he said.
He also thanked the Government of the Republic of China on Taiwan for donating the stadium to the country, and explained that when he won the World Championship, many did not understand that there was no proper athletic facility in the country, a situation he said did not stop him from working to achieve good results.
“I want to say to the all the athletes here today, everybody is not going to win, but there is so much more to come… Some of you are going to come out here today, and you are going to meet friends, make contacts… There are coaches, scholarships that you can benefit from. There is a lot to come from track and field,” Collins told the young athletes, and admonished them to work hard and stay away from drugs.
“You don’t have to cheat. You can fight fair and fight good,” Collins said, making inference to the illegal and unethical use of performance enhancing substances in sports.
The iconic athlete told the nation that he appreciated the love and support shown to him over the years of his career.
“I am very grateful. To the Government and people, thank you very much,” said Collins to a standing ovation at the now Kim Collins Athletics Stadium, at Bird Rock.