Olympians Arthur Wint, Herb McKenley and Dennis Johnson, as well stand-out coach Michael Clarke, will be among six luminaries to be honoured at the inaugural staging of the McKenley/Wint Track and Field Classic that will christen the new synthetic track at Calabar High School on January 23.Calabar High benefactors Ray Goldbourne and Dr. Don Philbert, who have both made significant contributions to the continued development of the Red Hills Road-based educational institution, will also be honoured during the meet that will feature Olympic Development races in the 400 and 800 metres and special 100-metre race for primary school athletes.Wint won Jamaica’s first ever gold medal in the 400 metres at the 1948 Olympic Games in London, England. He was also a member of Jamaica’s mile relay team that won gold in world record time at the 1952 Games in Helsinki.McKenley, the first Jamaican schoolboy to win a track scholarship, was a silver medallist in the 400m in 1948 and was a also member of Jamaica’s mile relay team that dramatically defeated the previously invincible Americans at the 1952 Games. He was also a successful track coach at Calabar High for more than a decade.Johnson, the first ever director of sports at the College of Arts, Science and Technology, was among the fastest men in the world over the 100-yard dash between the mid 1950s and early 1960s. He once equalled the world record four times within a one month span.Clarke has had tremendous success as a track coach and has led Calabar High to the last four titles at the ISSA/GraceKennedy Boys and Girls’ Championships.All six gentlemen will be honoured during the opening ceremony at the meet. “We will be presenting citations for each of them and will be handing over plaques of those citations,” said Andrea Hardware, a member of the organising committee.”We wanted this meet to be a development meet because both Mr. McKenley and Dr. Wint had been significant contributors to track and field, especially at the junior level, moreso Herb because he has been our coach for like the last 100 years before he retired, he was just there with us pushing and developing our programme in general and producing some outstanding athletes for us and for Jamaica.”So it is a meet honouring these two greats that have contributed so much to us as a nation,” Hardware stated.
With ambitions of successful representation and bringing home medals as soon as the 2020 Tokyo Paralympic Games, a memorandum of understanding between Table Tennis Jamaica (TTJ) and the Jamaica Paralympic Association (JPA) was signed yesterday at the Sir John Golding Rehab Centre, located at Elleston Flats, St Andrew.A new chapter was written between local governing body for table tennis and the Paralympic community and signed by Godfrey Lothian and Christopher Samuda, the respective presidents.It will see TTJ provide coaching and training for Paralympic athletes with a view to seeing them transition to the international stage and, hopefully, win medals at the Paralympics in table tennis.Jamaica Olympic Association (JOA) president Michael Fennell recalled that the city of Rio de Janeiro in Brazil, while hosting the Pan American Games in 2007, was the first host to introduce the ParaPan Games.”Tokyo 2020, which I think you have set as one of your benchmarks, will be another important benchmark,” said Fennell, who warned that while the Games are four years away, planning is needed.FORMAL AGREEMENT”We are here to celebrate the signing and formalising of the agreement between the Jamaica Table Tennis Association and the Paralympic Association, and for this to have the meaning from this formal document it requires participation,” Fennell urged.Meanwhile, this summer, Brazil will showcase the Olympic Games in August and the Paralympic Games in September.”I am sure it will be amazing for Jamaican athletes Olympics and Paralympics for the records and medals that you already have collected in this country,” said Brazilian Ambassador to Jamaica Carlos den Hartog.The JPA president, Samuda, said: “It is a partnership, ladies and gentlemen, that will, under the Road to Tokyo campaign, create a pathway for Paralympians to realise potential, fulfil their ambitions, and fuel their aspirations.”Samuda described the Sir John Golding Rehab Centre-based programme as a “centre of excellence”.The TTJ’s, president, Godfrey Lothian, said that “table tennis should be played anywhere and everywhere,” adding that “everybody should play table tennis”.”We will be putting some of our best coaches here because whenever you see people coming off the plane, it’s not just going to be our able-bodied athletes coming in with medals from athletics, but you’re going to see our Paralympians and others who will be mobilised across the country with table tennis medals,” he stated.
SEVENTY Eight of the country’s top junior athletes will vie for regional glory over the next three days starting today, as the 45th staging of the Carifta Games for Under-18 and Under-20 athletes will begin this morning at the newly built Queen’s Park National Stadium in St Georges, Grenada.Jamaica will be hoping to better last year’s performance in Nevis, St Kitts, where the country’s athletes garnered some 86 medals, which included 42 gold, 25 silver and 19 bronze.Today’s opening day will see some 20 finals being contested with 12 on the track and eight in the field. The morning session will get under way at 9:00 a.m. (8:00a.m. Jamaican time) and will see some three finals being contested Under-18 girls’ high jump, javelin and discus.Zinedine Russell, who was the silver medallist a year ago in the girls’ heptathlon behind teammate, Ayesha Champaigne, will be the first Jamaican to feature today when she competes in the first of seven events the 100m hurdles at 9:00 a.m. (8:00 a.m Jamaica time).Morant Bay High’s Marcus Brown, who, like Russell, was a late addition to the team, and who was victorious at the ISSA/GraceKennedy Boys and Girls’ Athletics Championships in the Boy’s open decathlon, will also be in action some 10 minutes after Russell as he will be competing in the first event of the boy’s octathlon, the 100m.PRELIMACTIONThe morning session will also see preliminary-round action in the 100m and 400m, where the likes of Kimone Shaw, Dejour Russell, Jhevaughn Matherson, Nigel Ellis, Raheem Chambers, Sanique Walker, Tiffany James, Christopher Taylor and Akeem Bloomfield are down to compete.Today’s second session, which will get underway at 5:30p.m. (4:30 pm Jamaica time) with the finals of the girls’ 1500m should be a very good day for Jamaica.There will also be the finals of the 100m and 400 metres later in the evening. Both Taylor in the Under-18 boys’ 400m, and Bloomfield, who won the boys’ Under 20 event, are expected to defend their titles successfully.