The Spirit of Determination / by Paul Choy

Guillaume Thierry is one of the most determined people I have ever met.

The first time I saw him was on television, as I watched him represent Mauritius at the Commonwealth Games in Glasgow. He was competing in the decathlon, and I can vividly remember cheering him on for the pole vault event.

It was only some time later, after I met him in person, that I found out what a challenge that pole vault event had really been. “That wasn’t my pole,” he explained. “Somehow my pole was sent to a different stadium, so I had to borrow a pole at the last minute.”

As can be imagined, in an event as technical as the pole vault, simply picking up another pole and using it to project yourself five metres above the ground is not the easiest thing to do. But that is the mark of Guillaume’s determination. When faced with a challenge, he just got on with it.

I have found this determination running throughout Mauritius. When faced with a challenge, people will simply get on with it. Sometimes they succeed, sometimes they fail – but, regardless of the result, their determination remains as focused as it ever was.