Athletics

New JC stadium stands as symbol for the pursuit of sporting excellence

BY SHERDON COWAN
Observer staff reporter
cowans@jamaicaobserver.com

Saturday, February 23, 2019

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While bestowing the recently constructed first class Ashenheim Stadium to Jamaica College on behalf of his family, Michael Ashenheim was all about encouraging the boys of the Old Hope Road-based school.

Well aware that three generations of the Ashenheim family attended Jamaica College, Ashenheim, who shared brief history about his family's success with the boys in attendance, pointed to dedication, self-sacrifice and discipline as traits of a champion.

According to Ashenheim, his family holds the distinction of starting Carib Cement Company and Carreras cigarette — the first post-independence factory to open in Jamaica. They also take credit for developing Appleton Rum into the world's leading premier rum.

“I may not live here anymore but I visit often. And I take great pride not just in our star athletes, but also in news that the Jamaican dollar has recently been upgraded by Fitch (Ratings Agency) and that our stock market is the highest- performing market in the world.

“These things do not come about by accident, they come from the same dedication, self-sacrifice and discipline that our sports stars engender,” Ashenheim said prior to officially declaring the stadium open.

“We all need to share these qualities to build a better school and a better country — that way we will all have a better life, a better environment and one day one of you or your children will be standing here, making a dedication to your school that will benefit future generations,” said Ashenheim at Wednesday's function.

As primary contributors to the Jamaica College project the Ashenheims can also boast about the state-of-the-art facility, which is the first to be constructed in a high school in Jamaica.

The facility, which was constructed earlier this year, boasts an eight-lane 400m synthetic track; an international standard football field, similar to that at the National Stadium; as well as an initial seating capacity of approximately 2,000 with plans of a possible upgrade to 5,000.

The stadium also boasts state-of-the-art lighting, perfect for hosting night-time events.

Jamaica College is now the third all- boys school to install synthetic tracks on their school grounds. Calabar High School and Kingston College led the way.

“My forebears always believed that academic endeavours and athletic prowess went hand in hand. Athletics, football and all sports, require incredible dedication, self-sacrifice and discipline from those who participate — they engender in us all a sense of pride in our team.

“These are some of the most admirable qualities, and if applied across all our endeavours they will undoubtedly lead us to success. We must apply it, not just in our athletes but in all that we do and in our environment,” Ashenheim argued.

“It is time for Jamaica College to make a new 'Wiley Mac' (Basil McKenzie) on the world stage. This new state-of-the-art facility will give all of you the opportunity to do well, so work hard, play hard, realise your potential, and keep on expanding brand Jamaica. Make yourself proud, make your family proud, make your school proud, and make Jamaica proud,” he urged.

Meanwhile, Prime Minister Andrew Holness, who was the keynote speaker, praised the Ashenheim family and Jamaica College for the initiative from which he believes Jamaica will reap long term benefits.

The government, through the Ministry of Sports and the ministry of education, contributed $10 and $20 million, respectively, to the project, which is believed to have cost more than $200 million.

“The spirit of enterprise and the spirit of philanthropy are still alive and well in Jamaica. Your family, without second thought, decided to make this contribution to Jamaica — and it is something that I personally want to commend you and your family for.

“Jamaica now has in its education system a world-class, state-of-the-art track facility, and we feel proud of it. I know it will serve students here well, it will serve Jamaica well, and I encourage others to make the same kinds of contribution,” said Holness.


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