New Legacy Athletics track club aims to build on Jamaica's impressive tradition in sports


New Legacy Athletics track club aims to build on Jamaica's impressive tradition in sports

Observer writer

Thursday, January 21, 2021

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Jamaica's fourth professional track and field club, Legacy Athletics, effectively the professional arm of the Calabar High School track and field programme, was launched yesterday with much fanfare at the Jamaica Baptist Union Centre in Kingston and was described as “an idea whose time has come,” by President and Chief Executive Officer Andrea Hardware.

The club that will be based at Calabar High School on Red Hills Road and will see Omar Hawes as head of the four-member coaching staff, is an ambitious project that they hope will help to add to the track and field product in the country known to produce some of the world's best athletes.

Legacy will join the other three major clubs — the Stephen Francis- led MVP TC, Racers TC led by Glen Mills and the G C Foster Sports College-based Sprintec TC.

In addition to Hawes, the other coaches will be Nicholas Neufville, Craig Sewell and Ynick Morrison while the athletes already at the club include Dejour Russell, Edward Clarke, Malik James-King, Tyreke Wilson, Michael Bentley, Amoi Brown, Crystal Morrison, Safiya Morrison, and Roneisha McGregor.

Garth Gayle, newly elected president of the Jamaica Athletics Administrative Association (JAAA), pledged the full support of the local governing body.

“We believe it's simply an idea whose time has come,” Hardware said during the launch yesterday. “In fact, one of the questions persons ask us is what took us so long to do this? And it's true, we perhaps should have started long ago but as we say in Jamaica, 'nutten before di time'.”

The executives of the club which also includes Chairman Karl Johnson, company secretary Yvette Johnson, who is the first female agent in Jamaica accredited by World Athletics; and directors Albert Corcho and Phillip Williams, Hardware said, had over 50 years collective involvement in the sport.

“Our aim at Legacy Athletics is to add to and build on Jamaica's long and impressive tradition in sports, and especially track and field, by contributing to the preparation of our next generation of outstanding ambassadors; to stand on the shoulders of people like Herb McKenley, Arthur Wint, Dennis Johnson, Donald Quarrie, Usain Bolt, Cynthia Cooke, Merlene Ottey, Deon Hemmings, and entities like MVP, Racers and Sprintec, as we learn from them in carrying out this mission,” said Hardware.

Legacy, she said, would seek to develop all aspects of the athletes. “Our services are designed with the athletes's total development in our hearts and the belief that when we get all three service offerings right, our clients will achieve the greatness that we believe are in all of them.”

These, she said, were coaching, representation and management as well as personal development. “Included in the portfolio are interventions to address: formal education through scholarships; the development of mental fortitude; tools to help them make better choices about their nutrition and lifestyle as sportsmen and women, and building their individual brands for sustainability.

“Our intention is to be very deliberate in helping our clients achieve success and to begin to think beyond their playing days…in fact, research has revealed that people like our own Usain Bolt and Michael Jordan, for example, are making more money now than when they were playing...they got this brand building right!”

Legacy would place “a high premium on our core values of integrity; respect for self and others; passion for winning; determination and service above self. We have their commitment to themselves…to live these values in their training and in all their dealings and affairs as they develop as professionals.

“We believe that Jamaica has too rich a heritage to squander. We are committing to Jamaica that we will do our very best to minimise the number of talented young athletes who do not make the transition to the professional ranks and to provide an environment that will be clothed in professionalism and communicate excellence. We intend to be ranked with the very best in the field of sporting organisations in the world!”

In his address Hawes said based on his research, none of the other leading track and field clubs in the island and some overseas was able to start with such a strong group of athletes, “so we are indeed blessed and the coaches are pleased with their focus and development thus far”.

Hawes, who has been a member of the Calabar High School coaching staff for a number of years, said it was an honour for him and his team of coaches “to be involved in this elaborate and soon-to-be one of the organisation in the world”. He added: “As coaches we continue to improve on our craft and give each athlete the individual attention needed so they can give of their best and to attain their best when representing their county, family and friends. We are doing our best to help them to realise their dreams by paying keen attention to every aspect of their physical, emotional and their psychological development.”

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