Byfield aims to speed up St George's track programme
As things heat up for the nation's senior athletes in track and field, with Rio 2016 just around the corner, so too is the athletics team at St George's College.
With newly appointed coach Orville Byfield about to take lead of the team, much is expected. Byfield is very passionate about the sport, having strong affiliation for the past 16 years, during which he obtained an International Association of Athletics Federations level five coaching diploma in California
He has competed and administered at various levels and institutions and successfully completed a master's degree in physical education and sports in Cuba, where he was able to garner significant experiences with national elite coaches and teams.
A lecturer at the University of Technology (UTech), he has been the head of the Caribbean School of Sport Sciences in the Faculty of Science and Sport, for the past five years.
With all those qualifications, one would say he is more than qualified to take on his new role. He has also taken on managerial duties as head coach and physical education teacher at Kingston College (KC) and owner-manager of Pro Launch Track Club.
"I have been a national coach for Jamaica and have been able to sit in the capacities as head and assistant coach for various international competitions, such as the head coach of the Youth Olympic team to China (Nanjing) in 2014, Central American and Caribbean Games and Pan-American Games," he informed.
"I was a part of the Kingston College track team coaching staff during their six consecutive wins from 2000-2006. In 2011, I was a part of the coaching staff of the winning Jamaica College track team," Byfield added.
Even though he has served in these capacities, he was active in his early days, during the period 1994-2000, as a student athlete at KC.
"I was able to add several medals to my collection, including silver and bronze at the Carifta Games. I was the first male athlete to win gold medals in both the Class Two discus and shot put events at the Boys and Girls' Championship in 1997 and, in 1998, I became the first all-island middleweight champion for weightlifting in Jamaica. The following year, I became the Class One discus record holder, leading me to become the captain of the Kingston College track and field team between 1999 and 2000; and was awarded Sportsman of the Year at Kingston College in 1999," said a proud Byfield.
The weight on Byfield's shoulders has only increased, as the expectations have been heightened from fans, the school, the team and benefactors.
"My plan is to help St George's College to become an elite centre for excellence in sports, in particular track and field, with its old boys as its biggest support group. This will take a collaborative effort from the St George's College Old Boys' (Association), both locally and in the diaspora, to deal with the different aspects of development of its young men, especially those considered to be at risk," said Byfield.
He went on to state that even though track and field is the main priority, he is also looking to see the team excel academically.
"It is my desire to see St George's College boys excelling in both academics and sports. When they leave St George's College, they should be well-rounded men, ready to take on the challenges of the society while making a meaningful contribution to nation building," stated Byfield.
He added: "My main goal for the St George's College track programme is to create a track and field culture and, ultimately, to see St George's College in the top-five position in the next three to five years in the Boys and Girls' Championships.
"However, all of this must be carefully planned and executed over time, with all stakeholders on board," he ended.
Mayberry Investments Limited, sponsors of the St George's College track and field team, is extremely happy to have played a role in the acquisition of a coach of Byfield's stature directing their programme.
Gary Peart, the company's CEO, said: "We are very happy to have Coach Byfield on board and we look forward to great success from the team. We wish him all the best with this new role as we have high hopes and expectations of him and the team."