‘Be competitive and have fun’, Fraser-Pryce tells Champs athletes
As thousands of athletes across the island prepare to converge on the National Stadium where over the next five days they will do battle at the Inter-Secondary Schools Sports Association (ISSA)/Grace Kennedy Boys and Girls' Championships, Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce is urging them to be competitive and to have fun.
Fraser-Pryce, the multiple Olympic and World champion, as well as brand ambassador for title sponsors Grace Kennedy, also reminded the athletes that being the best they can be at Champs can provide great opportunities for future success in life.
"Remember, Champs is a great stepping stone to college, professional athletics and life in general," she said. "You are still young, so enjoy this, as later in life athletics becomes more serious.
"Also, think about your future with respect to injuries. Let your coaches and support team know if you are experiencing unusual pains, because you want to avoid career-ending injuries," she warned.
Being brand ambassador, she said, is a responsibility she takes very seriously as her success can be an example and inspiration to others, demonstrating that hard work and perseverance can yield very positive results.
"More people need to realise that a lot of our young people want positive role models to look up to," she said. "I am from an inner-city community and did not have many people to look up to when I was younger, really just one. I want to show young people not to give up, not to lose focus. I had numerous reasons and opportunities to give up. I could have given up many times. But instead I persevered and have accomplished so much, off and on the track. I want children to have courage and step out in faith."
In that vein she said she wants the upcoming athletes, especially those who will transition from high school later this year, to take responsibility for themselves at this stage.
"Seek help and advice from those you trust, but ultimately, take responsibility for the decisions you make as you move into adulthood. This I hope will result in even greater success for us as a nation and people," she said.