Sat | Feb 27, 2021

Securing the legacy - New athletics club unveils impressive young talent, outlines ambitions

Published:Thursday | January 21, 2021 | 12:19 AMRobert Bailey/Gleaner Writer
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Omar Hawes, head coach of the newly formed Calabar-based Legacy Athletics, believes that the club has assembled an impressive group of athletes as they seek to establish themselves as one of the top track and field outfits in the world.

Legacy Athletics was established at Calabar High School last year with Olympians Deuce Carter and Jura Levy, as well as Tyreke Wilson, Michael Bentley, Anthony Carpenter, Dejour Russell, Crystal Morrison, and Malik James King among the list of athletes training with the club.

In addition to listing several former Calabar High School track standouts among their ranks, the club’s links to the Red Hills Road-located school continue throughout its coaching corps and administration.

Hawes, a long-time coach at Calabar, noted that the group was formed with the goal of lifting the energy around Jamaica’s track and field and develop into top-class, senior international talent athletes who have shown special qualities throughout their junior careers.

“Jamaica went through a little lull after (Usain) Bolt, and so what we wanted to do as a group that loves track and field was to bring back the whole spirit and the whole energy, and so we have decided to form this club,” said Hawes.

“The talent that we are looking at are the ones who went to the junior level and did well, and so the plan is to just bring them as a unit and just try to rekindle the junior energy at the senior level in terms of tradition,” he added. “This is a very good crop of athletes because I don’t think that any other entity that would have just started their journey has ever had the opportunity to have started with such a good crop.”

BLESSED WITH TALENT

“The talent pool is pretty special, and I think we are blessed to have been given a chance with this amount of talent as a group in its infancy,” said Hawes.

Hawes, who is a certified World Athletics and USATF Level One coach, will focus on the sprints and will be assisted by Nick Morrison (400m, 400 hurdles), Nicholas Neufville (horizontal jumps and sprints), and Craig Sewell (sprint hurdles and sprints).

The club will focus on athlete representation, coaching services, and personal and professional development.

“I think we can move to the top of the table, but I think it will take some time because normally when you are coaching, it takes you a little while to relearn even though those guys are coming from Calabar,” Hawes said.

“They all went off to college and some went off to different clubs and organisations, but from where I am, I am pretty comfortable in terms of the progress and the focus of the team so far,” he said.

Hawes is also a director of the club as well as technical leader.

Karl Johnson, chairman of Calabar High, will also serve as chairman of the club, with school principal Albert Corcho listed as one of the directors. Andrea Hardware, who is the team manager of Calabar’s track team, will be Legacy Athletics’ president and CEO.

The other major athletics clubs in Jamaica include MVP Track Club, Racers, Sprintec, Titans, and Swept.

robert.bailey@gleanerjm.com