J'can jumper Lewis leaves Texas Tech with degree, but…

Sport

J'can jumper Lewis leaves Texas Tech with degree, but…

Sunday, March 29, 2020

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Former Cornwall College athlete Odaine Lewis is a proud member of the graduating Class of 2020 from Texas Tech University with a Bachelor of Science degree in Human Sciences, this less than a year after helping the “Red Raiders” win their first-ever NCAA Division One Outdoor Track and Field Championship title, in June 2019.

But even while Lewis is celebrating the achievement, that moment of personal triumph has been rocked by the global pandemic called Covid-19.

“Technically, our commencement ceremony was supposed to be in May, but it has been cancelled due to the coronavirus and this is very disappointing to me and my family. I missed my high school graduation because I was in Mexico representing my country.

The 23-year-old has plans of going professional on the back of personal best efforts of 8.10m (wind-aided) in the long jump and 16.73m in the triple jump, both achieved while competing for the “Raiders”.

However, the transition he had been hoping for has hit a major snag due to the virus that has shut down sport globally..

“I should have graduated last December, but not getting a contract, I stretched the degree programme to an extra semester to try and secure a contract. I am taking only one course right now, I already met the passing grade for the course.”

“I am trying to go pro but I don't even have an agent, so I am not too sure how things will work out at the moment,” Lewis revealed.

“The lockdown, due to the Covid-19, is having a big impact on my post-university plans. I am going to have to figure out what to do next.”

Like most athletes the world over, Lewis was preparing to make a big impact on the track and field scene with the ultimate goal being a part of the Jamaican team to the Olympic Games in Tokyo, Japan.

The Olympic Games have now been postponed to the summer of 2021, but Lewis was ready to go this year for sure.

“I was in good shape this season, I just needed to tweak a few things, nothing major.”

The postponement of the Olympic Games and a number of Diamond League events is set to have a massive financial impact on athletes who need to perform to earn.

“Things are in limbo right now, I am not really seeing any options right now. If I got a little help then I could weigh out my options.

“If I could get an agent who could get me into some meets (after the coronavirus outbreak), but me funding it all by myself isn't possible, especially for a person who is just leaving school,” he stated.

A number of athletes return to college as coaches after graduating to help fill the financial gap as they chase their track and field dreams, but even that hasn't been possible.

“I couldn't get to file for the option to coach because of the coronavirus. The entire campus is on lockdown.”

As the challenges mount, Lewis will continue to fight to keep his dream of becoming a professional athlete, alive.

— Dwayne Richards


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