Thu | Jan 18, 2018

#ChampsTrials: VIDEO - Donald Quarrie High determined despite the odds

Published:Friday | March 18, 2016 | 4:55 PM
Track athlete Jordan Anderson leads Donald Quarrie High School's team of long distance runners during training.
Principal of Donald Quarrie High School Talbert Weir talks about plans for a field at the back of the school compound.
Donald Quarrie High School's team coach Nicholas Pommells (right) instructs his team.

Robert Bailey, Gleaner Writer

Donald Quarrie is one of the greatest track athletes to have ever represented Jamaica.

 However, the school named in his honour has failed to replicate his level of success in athletics. 

It's not because it has no ambition or talent, but because of the absence of basic infrastructure like a playing field for the school even begin the dream of making a mark like Quarrie's in athletics.

The Donald Quarrie High School, located in eastern Kingston, currently has a population of more than 1,200 students but has been unable to find track and field glory.

In fact, the school has failed to win a medal in the past ten years at the Boys' and Girls' Championships, and is hard pressed to do so this year.

The school's track and field coach, Nicholas Pommels has blamed a lack of funding and a proper training facility as part of the reasons the institution has been unable to perform well in athletics.     

"Our preparations over the years have been very difficult because we don't have a field to train on and so our athletes have to be training on the road," said Pommels.

“Nutrition has been a big problem for us, but we work with the little assistance we have received from the school."    

Pommels added that the school has taken  17 athletes to this year's Boys' and Girls' Championships and he is quietly confident that they will do well. He also said the school has done well at a number of the development meets this season.        

“We have no injuries this year and because we have done so well at the development meets, we have been receiving a lot of attention from some of the top coaches in the island," he said.

"A lot of these coaches have been asking why Donald Quarrie has been performing so well this year and so I know we have been watched and we are going to do great things at champs," Pommels said.

He said the school is aiming to pull off a number of big upsets at the championships. 

"Our aim is to beat Calabar, Jamaica College and Kingston College and we have done this at development meets, and so I think my athletes have the confidence to take home at least three medals,” he said.  

He added: "We are looking to take about 13 points and I am confident that we can achieve this mark at champs this year." 

About Donald Quarrie:
*Won gold in 200m 1976 Olypmic Games
*Won silver in 100m 1976 Olypmic Games
*Competed in five Olympic Games
*Won four Olympic medals during his career.