As Team Antigua Island Girls gets set to participate in another rowing challenge, a corporate sponsor has partnered with the team in preparation for the competition.
Elvira Bell-Bailey, Christal Clashing, Kevinia Francis and Samara Emmanuel will be taking part in the 2023 Pacific Challenge row, titled #backontherowagain.
Cool & Smooth, a clothing, sporting gear and electronics store, is known as a consummate supporter of all sports in Antigua and Barbuda, and its principal, Amer Hourani, reportedly responded without hesitation to the team’s request.
Accordingly, on Sunday February 12, Team Island Girls were invited to the store to select anything they desired.
The team is now outfitted in the New Balance brand, for which Hourani is the local agent. The women received caps, several pairs of sneakers per rower, socks, hoodies, multiple training outfits and bags, amongst other items.
Hourani also made a generous cash donation towards their endeavour.
This partnership, according to a release, will also see Hourani buying and producing, at his own cost, promotional Team Antigua Island Girls t-shirts for retail at the store – the full proceeds of which will go towards the team’s fundraising efforts.
Team captain Kevinia Francis thanked Hourani for coming forward to help them raise the funds required to take part in the competition.
Francis says that – from the boat and the safety fixtures to the mandatory gear, food, towing, shipping, airfare and accommodation, training and more – ocean rowing is an expensive undertaking.
She says the team must raise just under EC$500,000 to get to the starting line. According to her, this partnership has moved the team closer to its goal.
In addition to hosting fundraising activities to facilitate their entry into the Pacific Challenge, Team Antigua Island Girls will also raise funds to aid with the construction and launch of a home for girls in trouble with the law. This is a project that collaborates with the Family and Social Services Division in the Ministry of Social Transformation.
The history-making all-female rowing team represented Antigua and Barbuda in the 2018 Talisker Whiskey Atlantic Challenge four years ago, arriving home on Monday, January 28, 2019, after 47 days at sea.
They rowed into the history books, becoming not just the first all-woman team from the Caribbean to compete in the TWAC, but also the first all-black team to row across any ocean.
Organized by Atlantic Campaigns, the same team behind the Talisker Whisky Atlantic Challenge, the inaugural Pacific Challenge will have up to 20 teams.
The crews will traverse the waters of the Pacific, the world’s deepest ocean. Teams begin in the historic harbor of Monterey and end in Hanalei Bay on Kauai, Hawaii.