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James certain Digicel Grassroots Clinic will produce world-class talent

Published:Tuesday | September 16, 2014 | 3:56 PMShayne Fairman
Contributed Sponsors of the Digicel/MVP Grassroots Athletics programme smile for the camera after the official launch of the second staging at the University of Technology (UTech) yesterday. The main players are (from left): Paul Francis, coach, UTech, Digicel's director of marketing, Peter Lloyd, Gatorade's brand manager, Cornelia Nathan, marketing manager, Best Dressed Chicken, Avadaugn Sinclair and president of MVP track club, Bruce James.

Bruce James, president of the MVP track club - based at the University of Technology (UTech) campus at Papine in St Andrew - is confident that the Digicel Grassroots Athletic Programme Clinic for student athletes aged 13-19 will help to discover, nurture and turn out Jamaica's next crop of world-class track and field athletes.

"We (MVP) are already a global powerhouse; 50 per cent of Jamaicans who do well in competitions like the Continental Cup are from MVP," he said.

James underscored that the club is poised to turn out more achievers.

"The youngsters receiving training and joining our programme will find a place to develop to the best of their abilities and shine here," James told The Gleaner at yesterday's press launch.

"We are happy with our relationship with UTech. We require that any member desirous of joining MVP must be a member of UTech. We want academic excellence and sporting excellence," James underlined.

training camp

The training camp will return for a second season against the backdrop of organisers crediting the first one a big success.

"Over 500 quality youngsters participated last year and they were really good. We were looking for a scholarship awardee who was balanced, focused in academics and athletics, as well as having an inclination to stay home (in Jamaica) to train and excel in the sport," outlined MVP coach, Paul Francis.

Last year's scholarship athlete, Devon Smith, is a former student of St Elizabeth Technical High School (STETHS), who broke the ISSA Boys' Champs javelin record with a throw of 64.08 metres.

"I feel honoured to receive this scholarship. Without it, I would not be able to attend UTech, pursue my studies and be in line to represent Jamaica in the future," Smith explained.

"I am hoping to make it to the Olympics and medal," he concluded.

The organisers will cater to 750 budding athletes, beginning with pre-clinics scheduled for STETHS in the county of Cornwall, Vere Technical High (Middlesex) and Morant Bay High (Surrey). They will benefit from training in the track and field disciplines of hurdles, throws, jumps, middle distance and sprints/relays.

The major clinics will follow at the National Stadium in Kingston and the Catherine Hall Sports Complex in Montego Bay.

Following the respective camps, one male and female will be awarded a $1,000,000 scholarship prize for the most rounded man and woman athlete, courtesy of sponsors Digicel, MVP, National Commercial Bank, Nike, Reggae Jammin', Crystal Punch, and Gatorade.