Mon | Nov 19, 2018

Volunteerism can open doors

Published:Tuesday | March 8, 2016 | 12:00 AM
Financial consultant and past student of St Hugh’s High School, Sandra Shirley (right); president of the St Hugh’s High Past Students’ Association, Diane Clarke (left); and race administrator Alan Beckford inspect the official 2015 Swans 5K Race/Walk T-shirt at the launch of the event at the school’s location on Leinster Road, Cross Roads.

There is no need for Foster's Fairplay to declare a Jamaica College (JC) interest, having done so repeatedly when it is deemed to be necessary.

Having said that, it is a signal pleasure to congratulate the Old Hope Road-based school's alumnus, Alan Beckford, on yet another outstanding achievement.

The former Boys' Champs half-miler and recent aspirant for the IAAF Cross Country Committee has broken fresh ground. He has been selected as a technical official for the Rio Olympics by the International Triathlon Union (ITU).

According to the co-founder and chief organiser of the Hugo Chambers Memorial 5K Road Race & Fun Run an annual November event "each country nominates qualified officials and a selection process is done to select essential the best." The achievement qualifies him as an official in the triathlon and "we can be assigned to any aspect of the sport, swimming, transition, bike, run etc"

To get to that level, the always media-friendly Beckford had to endure the Level III ITU technical officials course, which is the highest certification.

"Maybe about 12 or so persons are at this level in the Americas from Canada, USA, Mexico, Brazil, Honduras and then Jamaica," he added.

He took the time to advise any prospective official who seeks to attain A level of which he is the sole Jamaican.

"Start to volunteer and rewards will come. I have been volunteering for nearly 40 years in sports. "

He ended his talk with this columnist on a solemn note, as he looked to Rio.

"It is a great honour and privilege to be recognised at this level. No other event can compare to the Olympic Games."

Once again, a sporting personality from the black, gold and green has risen to levels where our athletes have taken the country's brand in a most significant way.

This, as musicians, led by the immortal Bob Marley, scientists and the academics have also blazed their own trail. This should only form a template for those in the wings to attempt to copy as they wait on the, at times, elusive 'buss'.

So often, we see our young people, withholding their best efforts to make a difference in their own lives and that of their family, because, in their own words, 'nuh dollaz nah run'.

It cannot always be about the money.

A matter worthy of consideration lies with parents, who need to start the process during the early stages of their children's lives. No one can argue successfully against the need to earn, to look after one's upkeep and to keep the landlord at bay.

However, there is an important need to get aligned to the volunteer spirit, as is embraced by Beckford. In his case, it was a family-encouraged discipline. They have been staples at sporting events for ages, with mommy Beckford an active participant in her early years.

Volunteerism can open doors to opportunities to better oneself in ways unimaginable. It is contagious in that it has the ability to get friends and associates also involved, if only out of curiosity or as something extra. Alan Beckford did it, giving of his knowledge and passion gained from early participation in sports.

As dance hall artist Nesbeth sings to the delight of many, he can now say "look at me now'.

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