Sport

4th Prep Schools Development Meet launched

By Howard Walker Observer senior reporter walkerh@jamaicaobserver.com

Saturday, May 03, 2014    

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Not many persons knew that when Jamaican-born American Sanya Richards-Ross finally struck gold in the 400m at the 2012 London Olympics, in her thoughts, she had to block out the rest of the world and brought herself back to the place where it all began -- the National Stadium.

"I remember running out in the Olympics and I was so nervous and overwhelmed and I brought myself right back to the National Stadium and running and remember my teammates singing 'Sanya a champion, Sanya a champion' and I believe that and because of that I was able to win gold," she said.

Richards-Ross was the guest speaker for the launch of the Anthrick Sports Management's fourth staging of the Prep Schools Development Meet set for the Usain Bolt Track next Saturday.

"I am excited to share my experience at Vaz (Prep School) because it has definitely moulded the person I am today and allowed me to enjoy tremendous success," said an emotional Richards-Ross, who tried hard to wipe away the tears.

"Jamaica is a hot spot for talent. People always ask me, how comes the Jamaicans are so good? Why do they seem to have a leg up? It is things like these, these track meets, these developmental meets and the Prep Champs that allow us as athletes to be able to give our best and to learn so many tangible and intangible things that make us great," she noted, as husband Aaron Ross, who has won two NFL titles with the New York Giants, nodded his head in agreement.

"So I absolutely encourage you all to continue to do this because it is why 'when wi see Jamaicans on the track everybody get scared'," she said.

"What an amazing occasion. This is an amazing movement and what it embodies. I am here reflecting on my youth and being a part of Prep Champs. I can't help but think how fortunate I am to have parents who stood behind me 100 per cent the entire way. Up to this day, I still have footage when I was seven years old. I cannot thank my parents enough.

"I just wanted to share how instrumental it has been to attend Vaz Prep and to be able to be a part of the Prep Champs and meets like these and have the confidence to persevere because parts of my career have been difficult.

"Not everyone will be a champion but the skills that you learn from stepping out on the track. You learn to be humble in victory and defeat. You know how to set goals and be disciplined. You learn how to overcome, so I am just grateful that I have all of those as skills because of my experiences on the track," she continued.

Meanwhile, Jeanette Lewis, public relations manager at sponsors Flow, announced their partnership with the event to develop Jamaica's social and economic assets through sports.

"We are firm in our belief in the key benefits that youth gain through their involvement in sports. Some of these are the development of a positive winning attitude, building confidence and self esteem, learning key life skills of collaboration, cooperation, healthy competition, playing by the rules and how to persist even through challenging times and when facing seemingly difficult tasks," said Lewis.

Jamaica Independent Schools Association (JISA) chairman Wayne Robinson said they are very pleased to be associated with this meet.

"This has always been a meet of high standard. It tries its best to emulate and duplicate the high standards of a world-class meet. So you have all the equipment, all the officiating and standards that you see at Prep Champs.

"This is important that our athletes get the opportunity as a kind of warm up and a chance to participate in a world-class meet," noted Robinson.

Former Vaz Prep student Shannon Bailey of Wolmer's Girls will be the patron of the meet.

The meet is scheduled to start at 8:30 am and finishes at 5:30 pm and this year, Special Olympians will be participating for the first time.

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