Marc Stamp, Gleaner Writer
Head coach of Wolmer's Boys, Christopher Harley, has hailed World Youth Olympics 100 metres champion Odean Skeen as an athlete who has done a lot for the Heroes Circle-based school, and said the school could not turn its back on him when he needed help.
Skeen was admitted to sixth form at Wolmer's Boys with only three CSEC subjects, and that has made him ineligible to participate at the championships set for March 12-16 at the National Stadium. The Inter-Secondary Schools Sports Associa-tion, the body responsible for the running of the prestigious meet, will not allow a sixth-form student to compete with fewer than four subjects.
"It's never a fair decision for any youngster who trains hard. But at the same time we know that there are rules governing the championships which we knew we had to meet," Harley told The Gleaner on Wednesday.
"The whole situation is just an unfortunate one for him (Skeen) at this time. This is his last year and he wanted to go out there and do his best. He has not got his chance to do so, and that is a sad feeling for him," Harley reasoned.
"We have spoken about the situation and I think he is coping very well in terms of how he took it. Skeen is not the first athlete to be affected by grades but there may have been athletes who have never gone through a case where they are in sixth form and cannot compete at Champs. Some athletes may have left school before entering sixth form. He wanted to enter sixth form, and people may question whether he should be in school, but Skeen has done a lot for Wolmer's," Harley pointed out.
" ... So we could not have just thrown him out and say he is not needed," Harley said.
"Even though he will not be at Champs competing, we believe that he should be part of the institution and try to achieve what he can by the end of his time, not only on the track but in the classroom as well," Harley added.
Although Skeen who was a member of Wolmer's Boys winning Boys Champs team in 2010 will not be running on the track, he has been supporting the team.
"He has been at training with the guys and supporting them," Harley disclosed.