Sport

Lee signs long-term deal with Chinese company

PAUL A REID Observer writer reidp@jamaicaobserver.com

Friday, June 29, 2012    

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TWO-TIME World Junior 100m champion Dexter Lee has signed a four-year contract with Chinese sporting gear company 361 degrees, that will see him through to the next Olympic Games in Rio de Janerio, Brazil in 2016.

The deal was announced yesterday at the offices of VAST Incorporated, the Jamaican agents of the firm, in a short ceremony attended by Kai 'Jason' Shen, senior sports marketing manager at 361 degrees, Ajani Harris Williams and Benedikt von Dohnanyi, managing partners of VAST, and Lee's agent Claude Bryan.

Lee, who also won the World Youth 100m title in 2007 before becoming the first man to win successive World Junior titles in 2008 and 2010, switched from Reebok, which he has worn since turning pro in 2009.

Yesterday, Williams hailed the signing as "momentus", describing Lee as the "future" of Jamaica's male sprinting and "the cornerstone" of 361 degrees' Jamaican strategy.

"Dexter has the potential to be the next great Jamaican sprinter," Williams also told media members.

Lee is the sixth Jamaican signed by the company, as last year they signed sprint hurdlers Brigitte Foster Hylton and Natasha Ruddock; relay gold medallist Michael Frater; up-and-coming sprinter Kimmari Roach and 400m hurdler Josef Robertson.

Lee told the press conference he was pleased to have signed with the new sporting goods firm and says he will be looking forward to the next four years working with the 361 degrees brand.

While the value of the deal was not discussed, Bryan told the press conference the deal would make Lee "comfortable" and was better than his previous one.

The former Herbert Morrison Technical sprinter who also won titles at the CARIFTA Games and Central American and Caribbean Junior level and who ran in the first round of the men's 4x100m relay in Daegu last year, has a season's best 10.15 seconds going into this weekend's JAAA/Supreme Ventures National Senior Trials after clocking 10.06 last year.

He is in his first season under coach Okeele Stewart after splitting with long-time coach Claude Grant in the off-season.

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