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Thrower Deandre Leith moves to University of Maryland

Senior staff reporter

Friday, August 31, 2018

In 2016 when this promising discus and shot put thrower made the move from Wolmer's Boys' to Calabar High, his new c oach Julian Robinson promised him that better things would come, possibly culminating with a scholarship. But he was told he had to put in the hard work.

Work he did, and two years on Deandre Leith is in Baltimore, starting his sojourn at University of Maryland where he will be majoring in mechanical engineering.

“Coach Julian (Robinson) has just made himself a milestone in my life. His general persona is one to be revered. When I came to Calabar in 2016, my mom called him and said that she needed for me to get a scholarship to university. He said, 'mummy, don't worry'. Just last week he called and reminded her of her request two years ago. I really respect and adore coach Julian,” Leith told the Jamaica Observer.

“I feel really great to have worked hard all of last season and to see the fruit of my work. My family, close friends and associates are all proud. That, in itself, is a great feeling. Personally, I'm psyched,” said Leith.

He was fifth in the Class One shot put with a throw of 17.80m behind winner Rasheeda Downer of Kingston College (KC), who threw 18.38m. Leith then finished seventh in the discus with 52.62m, which was won by Roje Stona of St Jago High with 63.07m.

The powerfully built youngster played his part as Calabar High marched to their seventh consecutive win in the Inter-Secondary Schools Sports Association Boys and Girls Athletics Championships with fierce rivals KC in second. However, Leith will have two KC athletes for company at Maryland in 400m champion Dashawn Morris and middle distance runner Colin Rowe.

The University of Maryland might not be on the map as an athletics powerhouse, but they have recruited well this season and might just be onto something for the future with some talented Jamaican athletes.

“My new throws coach is quite proficient. When I was speaking with him before I made the final decision, we were discussing the rotational throw. What really hooked me was that whatever he answered was the exact same knowledge and vision that I have. All the technical corrections he mentioned were all that I saw. So by the fact that we share the same vision was really great,” said Leith.

With personal bests using the senior weight shot (7.26kg) and senior discus (2kg) of 16.57m and 47.60m, respectively, Leith's aim is to at least reach 18.5m this season in the shot and attain a new best of 55m in the discus.

“Jamaica has grown significantly in the throws and I am happy about that. I do believe that I can be a world-class athlete. Well, all I can do is work hard, be disciplined and be smart and let the chips fall where they may,” he explained.

Over the years Jamaica, known as the sprint factory of the world has been producing world-class throwers, and Leith has enough inspiration and motivation just watching these guys.

“I may not use the word idol, but I really respect O'Dayne Richards and Fedrick Dacres as they have paved the way for us in the throws internationally. That in itself is really amazing and because, of them I can walk and feel great to be a Jamaican thrower, because we are now recognised as a force to be reckoned with,” said the doting Leith.

“My ultimate aim is to simply be the best person I can be. Go as deep and as far [as] God has planned for me, and with prayer and guidance I know I can. I already have those, so I know I will be one of Jamaica's best,” he added.