A football competition is hardly something one would associate with superstar Jamaican sprinter Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce. However, the double Olympic champion is using the sport as a vehicle to help foster greater relations with inner-city youth.
The Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce Six-A-Side Football Competition, which was launched yesterday with a dress parade at the Foska Oval along Spanish Town Road, will be targeting at-risk members of the volatile community of Waterhouse and its environs, a corridor that the IAAF World Athlete of the Year nominee knows all about.
"This competition is an initiative that started this month for members of the Waterhouse community, as well as neighbouring communities, to come together and play the exciting game of football in peace and love, no matter where they are from," said Fraser-Pryce, who herself grew up in Waterhouse.
"It's also to get the men to channel their energy into something fun and exciting and also a way of keeping them out of trouble."
She added: "The competition came about just from a standpoint of not only developing the men in the community, but also a way for them to come together because sometimes gang violence or turf war tends to separate communities. But now we intend to inject life and peace through sports and other ways."
Some 20 teams representing five areas have been registered so far, with sponsors Digicel, GraceKennedy and Wata providing cash prizes and other incentives for the top four teams, as well as the competition's Most Valuable Player, most disciplined team, and top team leader.
Two games were played after yesterday's dress parade, with a special set of games also scheduled for tomorrow, Heroes' Day. After tomorrow, games will be played on Saturdays and Sundays up to November 25, also at Foska Oval, starting at 3 p.m.
"It is a competition for men who are not a part of any Premier League team or a member of the national team," Fraser-Pryce added.