Thu | Sep 20, 2018

Wolmer's focused on bigger sport picture

Published:Tuesday | September 19, 2017 | 12:00 AM
Ryan Foster, director of sports at Wolmer's Boys' School.

With the Manning Cup a big target, Wolmer's Boys hopes consolidating their sports programme will continue to improve opportunities for their student athletes and the school's chances of winning.

They have come close to Corporate Area football supremacy in the past two years, with success in the Walker Cup Knockout and FLOW Super Cup, but have not won the Manning Cup since 1994 and are hoping for better this season as Rudolph Speid and his coaching staff lead their boys into battle.

Asked about their desire to win this season, the man spearheading their drive, Director of Sports Ryan Foster, laughed, then said, "I think the time has passed".

In a way, it also mirrors the seriousness with which Wolmer's have lined up their sports programme.

"It's twofold. People like to back winners, so it doesn't hurt if we win and win the Manning Cup. I think we've been successful in winning the other trophies and we've been a top three Manning Cup team for the past seven years," Foster outlined. "But we don't believe in winning at all cost."

Highlighting the bigger picture, Foster noted that in the past four years, 45 boys have benefited from scholarships, which scores highly among their goals.

Prior to 2015 when they established one body, there were different committees managing each sporting discipline, like Manning Cup football, track and field, and swimming, among others.

"However, there were two main things why we felt it necessary to form a sports committee - to improve on the whole governance of all sports in the school; and two, it enables us to get more achievements out of having one committee responsible," explained Foster. " ... We found it would have been much better to run the sporting committee like a business."

Foster, the CEO of Tastee Limited, has vast experience in sports and management, having served as the director in charge of Jamaica's delegation to the 2017 London World Para Athletics Championships. Apart from securing major funding for the team, Foster has also been a presenter on financial management, economic development, the business of sport and sport branding and marketing.

He also heads the sports fundraising committee at Wolmer's Boys'. A key area to their vision as football, track and field and cricket accounts for $15 million, in a yearly spend that runs as much as $30 million.




Foster explained that the strategic objectives and deliverables for the sports committee are established at the board level, as the sports committee is made up of various stakeholders - "members of the Wolmer's Board, members of the teaching fraternity and members of the management/coaching staff within the school, plus the old boys' association."

Additionally, he said that they get complete support and buy-in from the school's principal, Dr Walton Small, and the parent-teacher association, whose children are at the centre of their efforts.

The main strategic objectives include the provision of a holistic approach to sports that fosters a greater synergy between academics and athletics, with each student athlete obtaining a minimum of five CXC and two CAPE subjects; the development and implementation of a strong management structure; funding and budget management, and ISSA compliance. It also speaks to welfare support and proper provision of resources.

There has been infrastructural development to the cricket pitch and nets, basketball court, football field and long jump pit, while the gym is set for full modernisation by 2018 and the dorm to house athletes is slated for completion by 2019.

In the same way that Foster drives sports, other personnel, such as Douglas Orane with infrastructure, are responsible for other facets of development and success.

Besides the FLOW Super Cup and Walker Cup, since 2014, Wolmer's Boys' have won titles in the all-island Under-14 cricket and basketball, Under-15 badminton, plus Under-16 and Under-19 water polo and lawn tennis.

They were also runners-up in Under-15 badminton and Under-19 volleyball and swimming.