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Friday, November 17 2017 @ 03:31 PM AST

Jamaica and Nevis to collaborate on track and field

Story by E. Hartman Reckord
Photo by Donald Delahaye

Minister of Culture, Gender, Entertainment and Sport, Hon. Olivia ‘Babsy’ Grange (left), in conversation with the Minister of Social Development, Youth, Sports & Community Development of the Nevis Island Administration, Hon. Hazel Brandy-Williams, during a call at her office, 4-6 Trafalgar Road, in Kingston. During her four-day stay on the island, Minister Brandy-Williams met with officials of various sport institutions to discuss possible areas of technical assistance and cooperation in sports.

Nevis Island Administration is seeking to adopt Jamaica’s best practices in sports, in an effort to develop world class athletes, especially in the area of Track and Field.

A three-member team from the island, headed by Minister of Social Development, Youth, Sports & Community Development, Hon. Hazel Brandy-Williams, ended their fact finding mission in Jamaica, on March 20.

Minister Brandy-Williams, along with her Assistant Secretary, Michelle Liburd and Director of Sports, Jamir Claxton, visited and held meetings with officials of G.C. Foster College, in St. Catherine; the Sports Development Foundation, and the Caribbean School of Sport Sciences, University of Technology, where they discussed possible areas of technical assistance.

The team also met with Minister of Culture, Gender, Entertainment and Sport, Hon. Olivia ‘Babsy’ Grange, at her offices on Trafalgar Road, in Kingston, and attended this year’s ISSA-GraceKennedy Boys’ and Girls’ Athletic Championships, held at the National Stadium.

Speaking with JIS News, Minister Brandy-Williams said that the main purpose of her visit was to garner information and to seek technical advice on how “to improve our athletic resources in young people.”

“We have realized that we have a very good component of athletics at the primary level; however, we do not have a structure at the secondary and tertiary levels, so we feel there is a need to develop that area, because it is at the secondary and tertiary levels where we have to field athletes who go to the CARIFTA games as well as the Olympics,” she said.

“We know that Jamaica has an excellent structure as it pertains to track and field, so we believe that if we are to learn something, we ought to learn from the best,” she added.

Describing her trip as “successful,” Minister Brandy-Williams said she has received a number of commitments during her visits to various sporting institutions.

“Beyond this point, I will have to go back to Nevis and have a conversation with my Cabinet and then from that we will see if we can devise a Memorandum of Understanding and that is where the actual implementation would start moving forward,” she said.

The Minister was enthused with the infrastructure and training programmes offered at G.C. Foster College.

“That college has more or less what we are looking for all in one capsule. They offer training in terms of all the sporting disciplines and they also offer a training component for track athletes, so if we are to send persons to be trained as coaches, we can also use that facility to send our elite athletes,” she said.

The Minister noted that in former years, athletes from the Nevis Administration were sent to Jamaica to be trained at private track clubs.

Apart from seeking to train coaches at the College, the Minister is also looking to have students participate in the Sport Journalism and Sport Management training courses offered at the College. “In as much as we want coaches, we want different aspect of the sporting disciplines, also sports management meets. We need well- rounded persons in the area of sports, not only coaches,” she added.

Minister Brandy-Williams said the Nevis Administration is keen on forging partnerships with the University of Technology. She expressed a keen interest in the degree programme offered by the Caribbean School of Sport Sciences, at UTech.

“We learnt what that programme offers. We also learnt that coming very soon under that programme they will have an online programme where students will be able to do the theory online. However, they will have to come to Jamaica to do the practical component of this course,” she added.

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