Intercol's growing influence
Foster's Fairplay sometimes asks the question, "Who is reading and enjoying this column?" To get a positive feedback from a former St George's College Sunlight Cup and Jamaica fast bowler, Roy McCatty, now resident in Florida, was indeed gratifying.
Thanks to the tireless efforts of a team of collegiate administrators, the event known as the World University Games (WUG) is now blessed with a prominent pride of place on the local athletics calendar. One can recall that the system locally was one of firstly high-school excellence, recruitment by USA coaches, track scholarship offered and readily accepted, then off to one of the tertiary institutions in the country of opportunity. The athlete either went on to national representation or succumbed to the new culture, not to be heard of again, the sterling support of past students missing. Their only mention coming in discussions of "Where are they now?"
With the Intercollegiate system now attracting meaningful corporate sponsorship, all that has undergone a dramatic overhaul. It came with hard work, application and devotion to a cause - college track can produce champions.
The WUG was born out of an international governing body, International University Sports Federation philosophy. Its mantra was "to promote sports values and encourage sports practice in harmony with and complementary to the university spirit." In its own words, "Promoting sports values means encouraging friendship, fraternity, fair-play, perseverance, integrity, cooperation, and application amongst students, who one day will have responsibilities and even key positions in politics, the economy, culture, and industry." Who would be so insane to discourage this?
The rules of eligibility are:
- Student Athletes must be born between January 1, 1987 and December 31, 1997.
- Student athletes must be fully registered in a tertiary institution.
- Student athletes who graduated the year immediately before the Games are also eligible.
- In years when the deadline for WUG entries is after the JAAA National Championships, the highest-placed collegiate athletes who meet the standards qualify.
- In years when the selection panel is unable to use the JAAA Championships, a squad is chosen, based on the results of the Intercollegiate Championships plus students in the USA or any other country where results meet the required standard.
- Standards for consideration are based on the average marks for winning the last two WUG ( for this year, 2011 & 2013).
- Athletics is the only sport where Jamaicans are competitive on the world stage. However, this year, table tennis and badminton are considered where the students are likely to be in Rio for the 2016 Olympics.
The venue is the Honam University, Gwangju, Republic of Korea, and the aim is to carry 11 men, 11 women in track and field and 7 officials. Proposed departure date is June 28, and athletics is slotted for July 8-12
With a budget shortfall of $8,000,000, this schedule could be ambitious.
"Due to how elaborate and, by extension, expensive the venture is, the Asian countries seem to be ones that can best afford to host the Games," explained Anthony Davis, 1980 Olympian and highly regarded University of Technology administrator, now reading for his doctorate at the University of Glasgow, Scotland.
Contribution to the Intercollegiate Movement
Sustenance of the country's participation has been, to a large extent, maintained by former competition secretary for years, and long-time director of sport at the University of the West Indies (UWI), Freddie Green, and Dr Alfred Sangster, who was president of Intercol for 16 years. Also playing a pivotal role was olympian, Dennis Johnson, the pioneer coach who advocated from as far back as 1972 that world record holders can be developed locally. Edith Allen, secretary from the Mico University, Vilma Charlton (UWI), and Nancy Smith, a US Peace Corps volunteer from St Joseph Teacher's College, were all members of the pioneering group.
Best-ever medal haul
Shenzhen 2011: Jamaica won six gold, two silver and one bronze and was second to Russia on the Athletics medal table and 11th overall with a team of 12 student athletes. Russia, China, Japan, USA, among others who finished ahead of us, all had delegations of more than 300 persons.
Well done, Intercol. The difference made is substantial.
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