College system making Jamaica stronger- Davis says rise on international stage coincides with athletes developing at home
Director of Sports at the University of Technology (UTech), Anthony Davis, says Jamaica's long-term success in track and field and that of the wider sporting disciplines at the international level depends heavily on the development of a good collegiate system.
Davis, who heads one of Jamaica's most prestigious college sports programmes at UTech, was the keynote speaker at yesterday's launch of the third staging of the Montego Bay City Run, at the Holiday Inn Resort.
"Once upon a time we never had a vibrant collegiate system, but now it's been growing exponentially and because of the direct link we now have genuine track and field stars on the rise in our universities and colleges," Davis said.
"This can only mean a sustained presence of high quality athletes at the national and international levels for Jamaica," he noted.
Davis has witnessed the rise of many local track and field stars to have benefited from attending US colleges and universities through various scholarships. He believes the system has improved for young stars to be schooled and trained locally.
"I have nothing against a student wishing to access higher education and training elsewhere, but we have seen a dramatic drop in the numbers opting to do so. Instead, we see them getting into local universities and colleges, train locally and are now at the top of the world in respective events," Davis said.
"It shows we are on the right path and are doing the right things to educate and elevate our student athletes," cited Davis.
According to Davis, the approximately 21 universities and colleges across Jamaica have been making great investments to upgrade coaches and facilities to meet the growing local demand.
"Before this we depended on our talents being developed overseas, primarily in US colleges and while that served its purpose and still does, I am of the view that we have been more than holding our own with the rise, development and upkeep of our own stars. And that is always good for Jamaica," he stated.
Davis is also a committee member of the International University Sports Federation (FISU).
The MoBay City Run is set for May 1, 2016 and projected to attract more than 2,000 local and international marathon runners.
It seeks to raise $5 million for tertiary level students in western Jamaica.