Sports — 19 September 2018
Diana Alford says NO to GAF on way to Sarstoon Island

2 First Place winners in 3rd Annual Sarstoon Eco Challenge

BELIZE CITY, Mon. Sept. 17, 2018– Reports from Toledo from Belize Territorial Volunteers leader Wil Meheia are that some 22 paddlers, 18 males (2 per kayak) and 4 females (1 per kayak) participated in the kayak paddling race – the 3rd Annual Sarstoon Eco Challenge, this past Saturday, scheduled to travel from Barranco Village to circle our Sarstoon Island and return back to Barranco, 17 miles, with a stipulation being that each team should touch the mangrove on Sarstoon Island.

But Wil reported in his call to Krem WUB this morning that there was massive interference in the race by the Guatemalan Armed Forces (GAF) launches, which obstructed the paddlers and denied all but one of them access to the Sarstoon Island. Only one paddler, a fearless and determined Diana Alford from Punta Gorda, was successful in reaching and touching Sarstoon Island; and thus the first place prize was shared between her and the female paddler that actually finished the return journey first, Ms. Anna Camp.

For her bravery and determination in the face of GAF bullying in stark violation of international law, Ms. Alford is being hailed as the hero of the day. “Determined to touch,” despite intimidation from the GAF, Belizean heroine Diana Alford asserted our sovereignty over Sarstoon Island.

Tonight, Wil sent us pictures, and informed us that Diana is a Coast Guard member, while Anna paddles for Belize Water Sports out of Cayo, and is a former Ruta Maya champion. Congratulations to all!

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Deshawn Swasey

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