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Monday 14th May 2018

Antigua and Barbuda will be represented once again this year in the 2018 Talisker Whisky Atlantic Challenge, starting in La Gomera on 12th December. This time, for the first time for Antigua and the Caribbean region, we will be represented by four formidable women. Following Team Wadadli’s historic 2015 TWAC row, and Team Antigua’s fierce follow-up taking 2nd in the record-breaking 2017 TWAC, a number of women jumped at the opportunity to join in the challenge, rowing 3000nm across the Atlantic, representing Antigua and Barbuda. Candidates for the team have been narrowed down to five following rowing training on and off the water, and we’ll see four of them rowing the Atlantic Ocean later this year.

Introducing Team Antigua Island Girls for TWAC 2018: Samara Emmanuel, Christal Clashing, Junella King, Elvira Bell, and Kevinia Francis.

Team Antigua Island Girls from left to right Samara Emmanuel, Christal Clashing, Junella King, Elvira Bell and Kevinia Francis. Photo: Observer Media Group.

Training is full speed ahead for the Team Antigua Island Girls, four of them having recently smashed their first overnight training trip from Antigua to St Kitts, arriving in just over 14 hours, which coach Eli Fuller (Captain of Team Antigua 2017) declares as almost world-record pace.

Photo via Team Antigua - Atlantic Rowers.

From Observer Media Group / www.antiguaobserver.com: Introducing Team Antigua Island Girls:
"Team Antigua Island Girls is comprised of Elvira Bell, Christal Clashing, Samara Emmanuel, Kevinia Francis, and Junella King. Collectively, they are four athletes and a skipper.  Team Antigua Island Girls have set their sights on being the top female contenders and among the top five overall. They are being put through their paces on the water by the tough taskmaster and coach, Eli Fuller, and in the gym by personal trainers, including Kevinia.

The women have selected Cottage of Hope as their charity. Cottage of Hope is a non-profit organisation founded in 2009 that houses and/or serves girls who have been abused, neglected or orphaned."

Photo via Team Antigua - Atlantic Rowers.

From Observer Media Group / www.antiguaobserver.com: Team Antigua Island Girls Prep for Cross-Atlantic Row:
“Captain Karl Belazir and the crew of charter yacht, Sanity, hosted Team Antigua Island Girls on their recent row to St. Kitts and towed them home. The trip provided the opportunity for the women to gauge themselves. “The training to St. Kitts confirmed what we already knew about ourselves: that we’re in this, not just to participate, but to be highly competitive. Individually, each of us [has] wanted to do this and to do it well, so it’s safe to say we are a team well met and one that will make Antigua and Barbuda proud, just like the first two teams before us did,” Francis said.

Between now and November when they leave for La Gomera where they will spend two weeks before the start of the race, the women will be in intense training – on the water, in the gym, and mentally. The team and their coach anticipate that they will log around 300 miles before the start of the race, which is well above the 72 required by the organisers.

Team Antigua Island Girls is fortunate, as the third team representing the country in this event, to step onto a platform established by the two teams that went before. They will use the boat from the 2017 challenge and therefore need, while significant, less funds than the previous entrants did.  Still, it’s a big task to raise approximately USD$150,000.00 to get to the starting line in La Gomera, Canary Islands in about six months.  The team is therefore making an appeal for financial support. Four types of sponsorships are on offer: Bronze at US $10,000; Silver at US $20,000; Gold at US $50,000; and Platinum at US$100,000.00. The four levels of sponsorship guarantee businesses branding space on the boat, with increasing sizes depending on the level of sponsorship, as well as social media and other publicity. The team will also be grateful for other contributions, which will earn the donors a place on either the patrons’ or boosters’ list.”

Check out the Talisker Whisky Atlantic Challenge website for race details and follow Team Antigua - Atlantic Rowers for updates on Team Antigua Island Girls as their training progresses.

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