Ascot's principal plans to bar Carifta star from Champs
JAMAICA'S defending Carifta Games discus champion Vashon McCarthy might not be participating at this year's ISSA Boys' and Girls' Athletics Championships based on a disagreement with his school, Ascot High, over the use of an outside coach.
Sixteen-year-old McCarthy, who was born when Ascot was formed in 1997 in Portmore, became a phenom last year when he won the school's first gold medal at Champs, capturing the Class Two shot put title with a throw of 16.25m.
But after his parents solicited the assistance of renowned field events coach Michael Vassell, who coaches at Excelsior High School, prior to the Carifta Games last year, the school apparently decided that he cannot represent them because he doesn't have a coach at the school.
This stance has infuriated his mother, Dianna Lennon, who called the decision unfair, "wickidniss" and "rubbish", for what she deems as simple "extra lessons" to further her son's development.
"We are not paying Mr Vassell, he is just helping. It's like extra lessons. Because he is doing this, Ascot says they are not sending him to Champs. I don't know which rule they are talking about," Lennon told the Jamaica Observer on Saturday, even as her son participated at the Big Shot Invitational at UWI.
"I think that is very much unfair. That is wickidniss. They are blighting the child's future. He is still at Ascot and he is representing the school same way, so it should not be a problem," she added.
"It's just like you are going Quality Academics for additional Maths class, so what are they going to do, stop him from doing CXC? It's rubbish," reiterated an angry Lennon.
"They are saying they won't be sending him to Champs. This was said to me by the principal himself, Cedric Murray," she claimed.
When contacted on the matter yesterday, Principal Murray's response was, "No comment."
Ascot's coach, Errol Messiah, who guided McCarthy from 2012, told the Observer it's a decision taken by the school's principal, and he refused to comment further on the issue.
McCarthy wore the school's colours of purple and yellow proudly at the Big Shot Meet and finished third in the Class One shot put with 15.74m.
The deadline for schools to submit their entries for Champs is the second week in February, and his mother believes Vassell is doing a great job with her son and wants him to remain under his guidance.
The Observer also understands that McCarthy's parents had what turned out to be a heated meeting with the school's officials on the issue and that the athlete's stepfather, Clinton Hammond, had to be physically restrained for what he termed "foolishness".
"The principal told us flat-out that the school will not be sending Vashon to Champs," added Hammond. "They are playing mind games with the youngster."