Lakeisha 'Mimi' Warner (left) with U.S. swimmer and eleven-time Olympic medalist, Ryan Lochte.
Photo Credit: Provided
Rising track athlete Lakeisha 'Mimi' Warner is grateful for the opportunity she was afforded to attend the 2012 Olympic Games in London through an initiative of Minister for Education and Culture, Hon. Myron Walwyn.
Earlier this month, the Minister disclosed that Warner and J´Maal Alexander were the first two beneficiaries under the Minister's Virgin Islands Emerging Fellow Award initiative and as such their trips to London were fully paid for through the program under the Ministry.
Warner attended the games and was able to interact with many athletes from around the globe while Alexander was selected to fill the one available non-qualifying spot on the BVI Olympic team.
A local official explained that since Alexander was selected to attend the Games under the Minister's initiative, the BVI Olympic Committee (BVIOC) decided to enter him as an athlete since the International Olympic Committee (IOC) allows each participating country to enter at least one athlete who falls below the Games' qualifying standards.
"I was excited and overwhelmed. I didn't want to get too excited just in case things didn't work out, but I couldn't wait to leave. I would like to thank Honourable Myron Walwyn for the opportunity he has given me. I am very grateful." Warner told BVI Platinum News upon her return from London.
While in London, Warner stayed at the Grovsner House. She shared amazement with the amount of support the the Olympics received and the volunteers who she described as spectacular.
"It really opened my mind to see how hard the athletes work to make it there. I remembered mostly the emotion on the faces of the athletes when success came or even when they were unsuccessful. To see the athletes cry when they won a medal really showed how much they really wanted it," Warner stated.
She added, "I think this trip really showed me what the Olympics might hold competition wise. It makes me set higher standards for myself. It also motivated me to really work harder to become a great athlete and hopefully make it to the Olympics and make the BVI proud. As a person it makes me realize if you believe in yourself and work hard you can be successful."
She said not because someone comes from a small country they should not try hard, but because they come from a small country they should work even harder to make it worldwide and make their country proud.
Lakeisha 'Mimi' Warner (left) poses with Jamaican sprinter, Veronica Campbell Brown.
Photo Credit: Provided
Warner´s mom, Elizabeth Annie Warner told BVI Platinum News that she believes that the Government is very focused on the youth; and to open them to international competition is a life changing experience.
"I think Minister Walwyn's initiative to send Mimi to the Olympics was a very motivational one for her and would be for who ever that opportunity is afforded to in the future. What I sense from her is that the experience of seeing the games live has opened her eyes to the big picture ahead and has made her realize her dream even more," Mrs. Warner stated.
She thanked Minister Walwyn and his Ministry for the opportunity.
"It was one we would never forget," Mrs. Warner stated.
Prior to the two athletes departure, the Minister said that attending the Games would have given them a bird's eye view of the games.
On April 11, Minister Walwyn announced the creation of the Emerging Fellow Award which is based on performance in the community and is granted to junior athletes, artists and scholars, being given opportunities to travel and participate in training and other learning experiences to develop their craft.
He added that the program will also provide the community with a structured program for parents and youngsters seeking public funding to support athletic aspirations, as well as attending music, arts and scholastic programs.