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Consummate ‘friend of sports’ Cool & Smooth gets onboard with Team Antigua Island Girls

ST. JOHN’S, Antigua (February 13, 2023)—Team Antigua Island Girls is proud to announce Cool & Smooth as a row partner for their 2023 Pacific Challenge titled #backontherowagain.

A consummate supporter of all sports in Antigua and Barbuda, Cool & Smooth principal Amer Hourani responded without hesitation to the team’s request. On Sunday, February 12, 2023, he opened the store to the rowers, permitting them to select anything they desired.

The team is now outfitted from head to toe in New Balance, for which Hourani is the agent in Antigua and Barbuda. They 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.

The partnership will also see Hourani buying and producing, at his cost, promotional Team Antigua Island Girls t-shirt for retail at Cool & Smooth, the full proceeds of which will go towards the team’s fundraising efforts.

Hourani said the partnership is his duty.

Team Antigua Island Girls—Elvira Bell-Bailey, Christal Clashing, Kevinia Francis and Samara Emmanuel—announce Cool & Smooth, agents for New Balance, as a partner for their Pacific Challenge Row. (Photo by Penny Bird/Atlantic Campaigns)

“The team made the entire country proud when they completed the Atlantic Challenge in 2019. They are going to represent us, once again, in the Pacific Challenge. Of course, Cool & Smooth would support them. These are brave, adventurous women, and this is about Antigua and Barbuda,” Hourani said.

Team Antigua Island Girls expressed gratitude to Cool & Smooth and Hourani, calling the establishment an exemplar of good corporate citizenship.

“Amer responded without hesitation, literally and figuratively opening the store to us and going through merchandise, ensuring that he covered all of our clothing and footwear needs. He also presented us with a cash donation, pledged to help our fundraising, and more. We are proud that he recognized our efforts and are grateful, not just for the things we received, but for his stated commitment to our quest,” team captain Kevinia Francis said.

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. TAIG must raise just under XCD $500,000 to get to the starting line. Francis said Cool & Smooth partnership has moved the team closer to their goal.

Besides fundraising to facilitate their entry into the Pacific Challenge, TAIG will also raise funds to aid with the construction and launch of a home for girls in trouble with the law, a project that collaborates with the Family and Social Services Division in the Ministry of Social Transformation.  


Brothers George, Amer and Kenan Hourani founded Cool & Smooth in 2002. The store, on Lower All Saints Road next to the market complex, has diverse offerings, retailing clothing, shoes, sporting gear, electronics, appliances and more.

The business is a renowned friend of sports, taking on title sponsorship roles and funding for interschool sports, cricket, basketball, football—“all disciplines; I don’t think there is a sport that we do not support,” Amir notes.


Christal Clashing, the adventurer and PhD candidate; Elvira Bell-Bailey, the health-and-wellness coach; Kevinia Francis, the personal trainer; and Samara Emmanuel, the groundbreaking sailor, make up Team Antigua Island Girls—the history-making rowing team.

The team represented Antigua and Barbuda in the 2018 Talisker Whiskey Atlantic Challenge. When they arrived home on Monday, January 28, 2019, after 47 days, 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.