Gibson/McCook Relays alive and kicking

first_img The love and respect for the giant of a sporting icon, seeming to be ever present asserted itself even more in what the professor must have thought was the final query as he offered a sum up remark. “However, the basic attitudes, values and principles are the same ones enunciated by Bishop Gibson and the Honourable Neville Teddy McCook. We will not change a winning formula.” Foster’s Fairplay is not known to sideline those who are the major players – spectators. They should always receive value for funds spent. Many come to the park seeking innovations or features, new or established, which will heighten the appeal of and ensure lasting interest in the spectacle. With this in mind and alert to scarcity of disposable income to satisfy a sophisticated entertainment appetite, there would be no ignoring that. The man who seems to forget his auspicious title, calling himself simply ‘Rainford’, responded. “The GMR is a spectacle, its essence is high-quality athletics executed efficiently and on time. Jamaica is the focus and repository of high-quality athletics, and relay running in particular, and we feel no pressure to change anything, except being more efficient.” He referred to the GMR as “a training ground for track and field officials”. About overseas participation? “(It) would complement the meet and we would welcome it, but it is difficult to arrange for a variety of reasons. We continue to pursue that initiative and we will see how it goes when the opportunity presents itself.” On future plans? “We are in a strategic review process and will have to pay attention to several factors, including sustainable funding, penetration of the Caribbean and wider NACAC area in order to contribute to regional development of athletics. But short of extending to a second day, there is little room for change.” The chief organiser was less effusive on the 2016 features. “We will introduce a bit of spectacle for some of the championship events this year with the help of (sponsors) Digicel. Our emphasis is on quality and efficiency in a safe, fun-filled environment. The spectacle will come from the performances.” Rest well, Teddy. The Gibson McCook Relays will live on. n For feedback, email lauriefoster2012@gmail.com. Last week, the team leader of the organising committee of the Gibson-McCook Relays (GMR) was interviewed on KLAS Sports Radio. Any sentimentally inclined sporting enthusiast must have been duly moved. Foster’s Fairplay was privileged to have been part of the audience. The show, configured for the ‘riding home’ pleasure of working class Jamaica and hosted by a Fortis stalwart in sports journalist, Stratton Palmer, drove home a salient point. The rich legacy of the event, conceptualised and cofounded by bright minds, was alive and kicking. Forty years ago, inspired by visits to the world acclaimed Penn Relays Carnival, Jamaica’s now departed track and field icon, the energetic and ebullient administrator, Neville ‘Teddy’ McCook, could no longer ignore the bee in his bonnet. The concept, aligned to the energy and enthusiasm to create and replicate for his own, led to the founding of the Gibson Relays, as it was first named. Why not, as the Reverend Percival William Gibson, born in the same year as Prime Minister Norman Washington Manley – had played such a significant and seminal role in the shaping and steering of the McCook of the 1950s. The term ‘no-brainer’, not yet hatched, would now be quite appropriate. It is no easy task to have Kingston College old boy and former athlete medical professor Rainford Wilks speak about the planning team and his achievements. However, it would be a journalistic faux pas not to try. He was quizzed on attempts to emulate the McCook model and sustain the principles, prestige and precision of the event. He explained: “The organisation and execution are based on the same principles as under Mr McCook. The committee consists of complementary personalities and skills required to execute the meet, many carefully chosen by McCook himself and serving long internship – are very prepared for the job.” The assessment demonstrated a stark and unapologetic resolve to laud the work of the man who threw the first die. There was more to come. “We have enhanced the organisation with modern information and communication technology, as well as organisational and accounting principles and requirements.” LOVE AND RESPECTlast_img read more

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This is for dad – Cousins … Humble Lion star stays strong after father’s death

first_imgSunday April 10, 2016 is a day that will be etched in the memory of seven-time capped midfielder Ricardo Cousins. The player, who impressed with his quality as a schoolboy at Glenmuir High School was having one of his better days in recent memory. He had just scored the opening goal in his team’s 2-1 win over ‘League’ champions and his former club Portmore United in their first leg semi-final of the Red Stripe Premier League. It was wonderful time for him and the ‘poorer’ of the two ‘Clarendon’ clubs in the Red Stripe Premier League, Humble Lion(s). They had one foot in the final of the knock out stage of the competition, a first for them and their dream of going all the way was alive. Cousins was doubly happy, not just because of the major role he had played in the victory but also because his biggest fan and the one person who had been present at all his local games from schoolboy level upwards, was there to witness it. Things could not be better. So he thought. After all, he had left him, his father Conrad Cousins, at home taking a shower in preparation to attend the match and had no reason to believe that he was not present. He always was. “Normally at the matches I would glimpse him in the crowd but it was a big, big crowd so I didn’t see him and did not think anything of it,” explained the 28 year-old. When he got home cousins expected to see his father at home and he did. “When I reached home I figured that he had got back home. I switched on the television and called out to him but did not hear him. I checked the bathroom and saw him lying in the bath looking like he was relaxing and had probably dozed off. I called out to him but did not get a response,” the all action midfielder said. He Continued, “I touched him in the head twice and said to him, ‘how yuh tired so like is you play the match?’ but I did not get a response. I then realised that something was wrong.” Naturally, the realisation shocked him but Cousins, the only member of his immediate family still residing in Jamaica and who shared house with his 52 year-old father, said he had to gather himself and handle the situation. “I still can’t describe the feeling that went through me when I realised what had happened but I had to gather myself and be strong,” said the man who won two Premier League titles with Portmore United in 2008 and 2012. So strong was he that three days later he was back at training and witnessing his father’s autopsy. “I took two days off but went back to training on Wednesday and then went to witness the autopsy,” the Clarendon resident said. “Everyone is asking me if I can play the next leg tomorrow (today) and my thing is of course. When you have a job, any job you have to do what you have to do and with football for the time that you are out on the field it takes your mind away from everything so I will be there,” he said of the very important second leg semi-final set for the Anthony Spaulding Sports Complex at 8:40pm. The added incentive of playing for his father is also a reason. “I can’t stop now. I have to finish what I started. It is not a choice. “I did pledge to win it (the title) for my people and he is a big part of that,” he said defiantly.last_img read more

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Time to Bolt! … Speed test for sprint king in London today

first_imgLONDON, England: It was almost as if royalty had walked into the tiny press conference room at London’s Grange Tower Bridge Hotel as Jamaican superstar Usain Bolt addressed the world’s media yesterday ahead of his appearance at today’s Sainsbury’s Anniversary Games, London Diamond League, at the London Olympic Stadium. The only thing missing really was some entrance music. Still, truth be told, the sprint king’s crown has been a little dusty these days. The world 100m and 200m record holder was quite clear: He is expecting to leave next month’s World Championships in Beijing with double sprint gold medals around his neck. He is not in the least bit worried by the form of American Justin Gatlin, and the fast times are close – very close. “I never doubt myself. I look forward to competition. Beijing is a month away, so I don’t worry about that. I’ll take it a step at a time,” Bolt said. “I have to run tomorrow and get through these two races, and I have been training really hard and pushing myself, so it’s all about execution now, and if I can do that right, then I know I will run fast. It’s all about getting the timing right, and when Beijing comes, it will come, but I know I have to take it a step at a time. “For me, it just takes one run to get to 9.7 seconds, so I’m not worried about times. Everyone knows sometimes I struggle through the season, but it takes time, and sometimes it takes getting to the big moment to get focused, but I’m sure when I get to the championships, I will be ready, so I’m looking forward to it,” Bolt sought to assure. Bolt will feature in what will be only his second 100m this year, and he will be desperate to get things clicking in a season that has been shrouded in doubt after he was forced to miss a couple of Diamond League meets due to an injury concern. The six-time Olympic champion, who posted 10.12 in his lone 100m race this season, admitted that it will be important for him to execute properly and run a good time here, as he looks to build momentum heading into the World Championships. “It’s definitely one of my most memorable stadiums to run in. The crowd was great the last time I was here, the Olympics was just epic so I really enjoyed it and I am looking forward to competing here again,” Bolt stated. “I need to get my execution right. Most of my races have been poor, so its all about getting the right execution and getting it done. If everything goes right, and I execute right, then the times will come.” “I’ve always said that if my coach isn’t worried, then I am not worried, because he will always find a way to get me ready for the championships and he is confident that I can be ready and so am I. All we have to do is just work. I have been doing well in training. Everything has been going better and smoother so, hopefully, now I can go on the track and deliver,” Bolt said. The Jamaican will face countrymen Nesta Carter and Kemar Bailey-Cole as well as Mike Rodgers, Ryan Bailey, and Jimmy Vicaut in a heats-then-final system. The first of two heats will get under way at 8:17 p.m. (2:17 p.m. Jamaica time) with the final set for 9:29 p.m. (3:29 p.m. Ja time). Bolt has looked just as flat in the 200m, returning a best of 20.13 this season after three runs, but despite less than a month to go before the start of the World Championships, Bolt said he has never considered just focusing on one event this season and believes improvements in his 100m over the next few weeks will undoubtedly help his preparations for the longer sprint. “I need to run more 100m, if I do that, my 200m will come along because its always the first part of my race that needs work. The last part of my race always comes together and this is why I am working so hard and this is why I need to get some 100m races now and this has been our focus. We have been working hard in training and I know I will get it right,” Bolt said. “I’ve never thought of doing just one event.” He could not confirm if he will compete at next week’s Stockholm Diamond League, pointing out that the decision will be taken after his assignment here. The London Olympic Stadium is an old stomping ground of his but will it, again, prove a stronghold for the king of sprints? In this case, in more ways than one, time will definitely tell. andre.lowe@gleanerjm.comlast_img read more

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World Championships Fact

first_imgJamaica’s women’s 4×100 metres relay team won gold in 41.94 seconds at the 1991 IAAF World Championships in Tokyo, Japan. The members of the quartet were Dahlia Duhaney, Juliet Cuthbert, Beverley McDonald and Merlene Ottey.last_img

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James double strike keeps StGC perfect in ISSA/FLOW Manning Cup

first_imgMidfielder Dominic James (56th, 76th) scored a brace and Alex Marshall (68th) added another as St George’s College held off a spirited Ardenne High to make it three wins from three games in Zone C of the FLOW/ISSA Manning Cup football competition, with a 3-0 win at Winchester Park, St George’s College, yesterday.After a scoreless first-half, which the home team dominated but wasted a number of good scoring opportunities, James fired the Neville ‘Bertis’ Bell-coached team ahead with a rasping drive from 30 yards that gave goalkeeper Kalvin Brown no chance.The lanky playmaker then added a second from the penalty spot on 68 minutes when St George’s were handed a dubious penalty after Marshall went down under a shoulder-to-shoulder challenge inside the area.”Today’s game he was exceptional,” assistant coach Marcel Gayle said about James.”He showed his quality and he showed his class not only by scoring two, but by his performance,” Gayle added.The hosts started comfortably and bossed possession against the opponents who, although not having real quality up front, played with discipline and determination. It was not long before the Georgians realised that they would be in for a match and stepped up their game.two opportunitiesJerome Coombs had two great opportunities to put St George’s ahead, but Brown parried his effort from five yards. Minutes later, the goalkeeper spilled possession under pressure from the said player, but in his eagerness to score, Coombs lifted the ball over the top with the goal at his mercy. Marshall was also denied by Brown, who kept the visitors in the game.St George’s continued to press after the break and 11 minutes in James was given time and space and he let fly from 30 yards to open the scoring.Twelve minutes later they added a second when Marshall went down inside the area and James converted for his and St George’s second.After missing a number of other easy chances, the hosts sealed the deal when Marshall turned and dribbled neatly in minimal space past three defenders, before slotting past Brown to make it 3-0 with a classy goal.Gayle said they had to work for the three points.”Ardenne pushed us to the limit … but the quality of St George’s College and our condition prevailed. But we had to dig deep,” Gayle said.Ardenne’s coach, Junior Francis, said the first goal caught them by surprise and the penalty knocked the wind out of their sails.”When you go two goals (down) like that to a St George’s team it’s very hard to get back in the game,” he commented.Yesterday’s ResultsZone BCumberland 0 – Greater Portmore 1Dunoon 0 – Hydel 2H Selassie 1 – Papine 1Zone CSt George’s 3 – Ardenne 0Eltham 1 – Innswood 2Denham Town 4 – Kingston Tech 1Zone FExcelsior 1 – Norman Manley 0Spanish Town 0 – Jonathan Grant 2Vauxhall 1 – Ascot 0Monday’s gamesZone AJamaica College vs Clan CarthyCalabar vs TivoliZone DHoly Trinity vs Charlie SmithSt Mary’s College vs PenwoodZone EWolmer’s vs BridgeportSt Jago vs Kingston HighZone GKingston College vs Campion CollegeCamperdown vs Jose Martilast_img read more

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Madrid edge Granada 1-0 in Spain’s La Liga

first_imgBARCELONA, Spain (AP):Karim Benzema scored to help Real Madrid eke out a 1-0 win over Granada yesterday and take the overnight lead of the Spanish League, while Fernando Torres netted one goal and set up another to lift Atletico Madrid into second place.Granada’s disciplined defence and the solid goalkeeping of Andres Fernandez held Madrid in check, while the visitors’ attack matched their star-studded hosts chance for chance in an evenly-contested first half. But Keylor Navas thwarted Granada’s forward before Benzema tilted the match in Madrid’s favour 10 minutes after half-time with a close-range header to put the Santiago Bernabeu crowd at ease.Madrid have 10 points, one more than Atletico and Barcelona, which can reclaim the league lead against Levante today.Torres and Angel Correa both went on as second-half substitutes and inspired Atletico to a 2-0 win at Eibar, leaving Diego Simeone’s side ahead of Barcelona on goal difference.Valencia drew 0-0 at home with nine-man Real Betis after Dani Ceballos saw his second booking in the 48th, as Betis held on to take points despite having a player sent off early for a second straight match.In the capital, Madrid’s Cristiano Ronaldo saw his scoring run end after eight goals in his previous two matches. But Navas, who had been seconds away from being sent to Manchester United at the close of the summer window as part of Madrid’s failed transfer for David de Gea, extended the club record to a fifth consecutive clean sheet.”I had the chance to stay where I wanted to be and I will give it my all to remain here,” Navas said. “It was complicated because you know it is an awkward situation. But that is the past and I try to focus on the present, which is all that matters.”Madrid said it had invited the Syrian refugee who was tripped at a border hotspot by a Hungarian journalist in an incident that generated global outrage. Osama Abdul Mohsen had arrived to the capital earlier this week after a Spanish football academy offered to help them rebuild their life.last_img read more

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Markofaprince, Seeking hope oblige

first_imgMARKOFAPRINCE and SEEKING HOPE, both lightly raced three-year-olds, scored easy wins in the respective sections of the Knutsford Park Cup feature over 1200 metres at Caymanas Park yesterday. In division one, MARKOFAPRINCE, ridden by the sparingly used but competent jockey Harriston Lewis, was installed an 8-5 second favourite in a field of 13 bred three-year-olds (non-winners of two) and justified the support with a 23/4 length victory over BIMINI at 5-1 and the even-money favourite SHINE. MARKOFAPRINCE was content to chase long-time leader FIRE ALARM (23-1) under in-form Wesley Henry into the straight. He disposed of FIRE ALARM approaching the distance and moved away for a decisive win ahead of the late-running BIMINI. A chestnut colt by Market Rally out of Princess KK, MARKOFAPRINCE, who won on his debut over the straight on August 22, is owned, trained, and bred by Carl Anderson. Later in the afternoon, the 4-5 favourite SEEKING HOPE, with Wesley Henry aboard, overcame a slow start to win division two by five lengths from long-time leader LOVE TRAIN (10-1) and the 90-1 outsider TWIGHTLIGHT CITIZEN in a 12-horse field. Despite missing the break, SEEKING HOPE, from the Spencer Chung stables, gradually mended to turn for home very wide into the straight. At this stage, LOVE TRAIN, with Prince Holder aboard, still enjoyed a clear lead, but SEEKING HOPE lengthened his strides midway the last furlong to win like an out-of-class animal on this his fifth outing. SEEKING HOPE, who had previously won over 1300 metres in maiden company on August 18, is a chestnut colt by Seeking The Glory out of the Pat N Jack mare Swapping Secrets. Meanwhile, the howling 1-5 favourite BLUE DIXIE made a smashing debut in the opening two-year-old race over 1200 metres, going wire to wire for a 91/2 length win over stable-companion BIG AL at 3-1. The bay filly by Siky Mesa out of Dixie And Bullet was ridden by Omar Walker for co-owners Don Wehby and Michael Bernard in a seven-strong field. Harriston Lewis, Wesley Henry, Jevanne Erwin, and title-chasing jockey Robert Halledeen shared the riding honours with two winners each, Erwin producing the 51-1 outsider COURT CALL with a terrific late run to win the fifth race over 1400 metres for a huge upset. SLOW STARTlast_img read more

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Laurie Foster: Race for Olympics heating up

first_imgThe traditional magic and mystique of Olympic year is once again raring its attractive head. With just about nine weeks to go for the National Championships (Trials), already, a few athletes are positioning themselves, drawing for their bow and taking aim. The bullseye is a seat on the plane to the widely acknowledged ultimate in sports participation, officially known as the Games of the XXXI Olympiad in the Brazilian city of Rio. For this blessed nation, with the eye-catching attraction of the sports’ world-governing body, the professional circuit, yet unfolded, promises of spectacular performances are rife. After missing two World Championships through troubling injury, Yohan Blake has stormed back. He has publicly dropped a name that identified him as a monstrous and despicable creature, which he is not. The former St Jago High School sprinter and current national under-20 record holder (10.11+1.2) blasted a then 100m world-leading 9.95 legal at the UTech-MVP Classic on April 16. It stands as arguably the most compelling boost of confidence and satisfaction levels for a country trying to put its best feet forward leading into the great spectacle in the South American continent this August. EARLY DAYS Downgrade the Blake impact a bit to Simone Facey’s 11.00 at the Tom Jones Memorial last weekend. This, too, must be a morale strengthener to an athlete who has been constantly flogged in more recent times by many she considered to be her inferior in junior track. The 2009 Berlin WC 4x100m gold medallist has sent an early indication of her path to Rio. The mark will earn her lanes at the very top of the competition ladder where there is no dodging by the world’s fastest as exists with the other gender. Yet, it is early days and one is not aware of the quality or sustainability of her programme. Suffice it to say, in the absence of this knowledge, to the fringe-based honours suspects at Trials: “Watch out, VCB, Sherone (Simpson), Kerron (Stewart) and company, Simone might have been sleeping, but is now fully awake.” The advance of the nation’s throwing programme cannot escape mention in a Rio context. Foster’s Fairplay will continue to carry the flag for coaches/pioneers of excellence in that traditionally ignored area. Julian Leonard Robinson and Michael Vassell have torched the consciences of the movers and shakers of the sport in the local arena. Their charges have been crashing parties in both genders. The new, and much appreciated by a few, wellness in discus and shot put is contagious. It has spread to the Edwin Allen and Petersfield High school models. Foster’s Fairplay, on that limited mention, is hearing legitimate calls reminiscent of the soul classic by the group Champagne – “How about us?” Yes, the template has extended to other camps. However, the point to be made is that the world scene has been invaded in these hitherto peripheral disciplines and the two coaches mentioned can take a proverbial bow. As MVP’s Paul Francis, himself part of a game-changing group, said on Facebook recently, words to the effect of: “Why stop at the World Junior level? Go for the Olympics.” Let us then see if the throwing contingent of (Odayne) Richards, (Jason) Morgan, (Federick) Dacres, (Traves) Smikle and company can inspire the new discus national Under-20 record holder and Vassell-conditioned Shanice Love to reach for Rio. With all that jockeying for team selection in store, the fans’ taste buds are already well moistened. The intensity of the Diamond League and all that it brings to the fore will only be more enticing and threatens to sweeten the competition brew even further. Looking at the pending action, on field and track, one learned critic, referring to the Jamaica Trials, opined: “It will be like a mini-Olympics. Another, speaking in less ornate terms, confided: “It nah guh normal.” Foster’s Fairplay believes that those predictions could fall short at crunch time, June 30 to July 3. For feedback: Email lauriefoster2012@gmail.comlast_img read more

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Bills axe Ryan ahead of season finale

first_img PAINFUL LOSS He called the loss to Miami his most painful as a Bills coach, and the second most painful in his 20 NFL seasons as a coach or assistant. Ryan also second-guessed some of the decisions he made during the game, including punting from his own 41 with a little over four minutes left in overtime. He said he hoped the loss wouldn’t become his defining moment in Buffalo. “But if it is, it’s something I’ve got to live with,” he said. With speculation raised over the past month over his job security, Ryan also dismissed a question over whether two seasons were enough to be judged upon by the Pegulas. “Whatever they think is fair, that’s the only thing that matters,” he said. “I’m just going to try to win this game. It doesn’t matter that it doesn’t mean anything. To me, it means a lot. I want to win the game. That’s who I am.” The Bills also fired Ryan’s twin brother, Rob Ryan, from his position as an assistant head coach with the responsibility to oversee defence. Rex Ryan came to Buffalo saying this would be his last job after six seasons with the Jets, and vowed to build the Bills into a bully. This has been a difficult year for the Ryans, who mourned the death of their father, Buddy Ryan, in June. Pegula then noted his wife in saying: “Kim and I and our entire Bills organisation share in the same disappointment and frustration as our fans, but we remain committed to our goal of bringing a championship to western New York.” The Pegulas made the decision to fire Ryan after attending Saturday’s game and then spending Christmas at their second home in the Adirondacks. Ryan was 15-16 in two seasons in Buffalo and is 61-66 overall. He hasn’t had a winning season since his second with the Jets in 2010, when New York went 11-5 and lost the AFC Championship game for a second consecutive post-season. Ryan was dismissed a day after he appeared emotionally drained during what became his final news conference. DISAPPOINTMENT ORCHARD PARK, NY (AP): The Bills have fired coach Rex Ryan before the end of his second season after he failed to build Buffalo’s defence into a bully or lead the team to the playoffs. The Bills announced Ryan’s firing yesterday, three days after a 34-31 overtime loss to the Dolphins dropped the Bills to 7-8 and officially eliminated the team from playoff contention. The loss extended the NFL’s longest active playoff drought to 17 seasons. Assistant head coach and offensive coordinator Anthony Lynn takes over as the interim coach, and is expected to be a candidate to replace Ryan full-time. The Bills close the season in a meaningless game on Sunday at the New York Jets (4-11). Lynn is a long-time Ryan assistant and was promoted to offensive coordinator after Ryan fired Greg Roman following an 0-2 start. Team owner Terry Pegula reached the decision over the weekend and informed Ryan during the team’s day off on Tuesday. “We mutually agreed that the time to part ways is now,” Pegula said in a statement released by the team. “These decisions are never easy.”last_img read more

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Redemption for St Jago in 4x800m

first_imgOne of the most talked about events going into last Saturday’s 41st Gibson McCook Relays was the 4×800 metres open for high school boys. Defending champions St Elizabeth Technical were out but a close battle was expected among Kingston College who were in terrific form, Calabar High, Jamaica College and St. Jago High. St Jago’s Leon Clarke lost a commanding lead and his school was beaten by STETHS last year. This year he wanted to make amends. Joel Jean Pierre, Keenan Lawrence and Clarke along with newcomer to the team, Anthony Cox, were determined to go one place better. It was close going on the first leg as Cox gave them a slight lead ahead of KC but it was Lawrence on the second leg that put the team in a commanding position. Pierre maintained that lead to give Clarke another big lead. This time, however, he would not be beaten. He pulled away from his rivals for a convincing win in 7:32.76 to beat the two-year-old record, 7:33.87 which was held by KC. Lawrence said they wanted to win to give Pierre, now in his last year, a grand send off. “When I got the baton in first place I was determined to extend the lead as I wanted to ensure we won the race for John Pierre,” said Lawrence. Clarke said he went into the event very confident. “I got the baton in a similar position like last year. I knew that the coaching staff had confidence in me as I was allowed me to run in the same position and I am happy I was able to redeem myself,” he said. John Leiba who ran the distance programme at St Jago for many years before he gave it up some time ago was really happy with the performance of the team. “Three years ago some old students asked me to come back in the programme and get involved and the results over the period is a culmination of the hard work. We have had the three fastest times at the Penn Relays despite other teams winning the event over the years and I am happy that Michael Williams is also back to help with the programme. He has been motivating Clarke and he is very confident that the young athlete can break Neville Myton’s national 800m junior record”, said Leiba. Williams who flew down from New York for the Gibson McCook Relays was happy with the team’s win. “Last year I spoke to Clarke and gave him instruction how to run the race but he did not go through with that and I was determined to come back this year and motivate him once again , as before the race I told the boys that they are already winners and all they had to do was just stick to the plan and keep out of trouble,” said Williams.last_img read more

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