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High expectations at Herbert Morrison

Published:Sunday | March 14, 2010 | 12:00 AM
LIME's Nathaniel Palmer (left) presents a gift to Benjamin Streete during The Gleaner's Champ 100 tour at Herbert Morrison Technical High School in Montego Bay on Friday. - Photo by Sheena Gayle

Adrian Frater, News Editor

Western Bureau:

The Gleaner's Champs 100 High School tour waltzed into Montego Bay on Friday and made a most memorable stop at Herbert Morrison Technical High School, the alma mater of Dexter Lee, the first male athlete to win a 100 metres gold medal for Jamaica at a major global event.

While Lee (Dexter), who had that historic feat at the World Youth Championships in the Czech Republic in 2007, was not present at the Champs celebrations, his older brother Keniel (Lee), who was also an accomplished sprinter on the high school circuit, was present.

"Herbert Morrison Technical was very good to be as a young athlete, because this is where it all started for me," said Lee, who is now pursuing higher education at the tertiary level. "No praise is too high for coach Claude Grant because he taught me so many important things about track and field and life in general."

In imploring the current batch of track athletes at Herbert Morrison to strive for excellence, the affable Lee, who made the 100m final in his last year at Boys and Girls' Championships, said discipline, hard work and self-motivation are the keys to success.

"You have to work hard and sometimes make a lot of sacrifices if you want to make it in track and field," said Lee. "It is important to listen to your coach, aim for the sky and also make sure you have the right people around you."

Claude Grant, who has had an unbelievable success rate at Herbert Morrison, churning out high-quality athletes such as the Lee brothers, former female track sensation Nikeisha Anderson and current stars Antonique Campbell and Tavaskie Lewin, is looking to the upcoming Boys and Girls' Championships with much relish.

"It costs a lot of money to take these athletes to Champs so we are not going there to make up numbers ... in fact, once an athlete qualifies for a final, we are expecting him or her to go on to produce their best," said Grant. "All the athletes we are taking to Champs are qualified and we expect them to do well."

Stepping stone

While some coaches' primary focus is doing well at Champs, Grant's expectations are much higher. In fact, as he did with Lee (Dexter), whose training at Herbert Morrison was geared towards having him represent Jamaica at an early age, he has the same expectation for all his athletes.

"Champs should be the stepping stone to bigger and better things," said Grant. "We see Champs as just a stop on the way for an athlete who is prepared to work hard and strive for the best."

Turning to Dexter Lee, who recently turned professional, Grant said he was quite pleased with the progress he was making and expects him to move from strength to strength as he begins to seriously settle on the senior circuit.

As for this year's Boys and Girls' Championships, expectations are quite high in the Herbert Morrison camp as, according to Lewin (Tavisky), he is eyeing a grand performance.

"I am expecting us to finish in the top 10 among both the girls and the boys," said Lewin. "For myself, I am hoping to run 46 seconds in the Class One 400m, which should give me a place on Jamaica's World Junior Championship team. In addition, I am also aiming at 20.9 in the 200m, and possibly win the long jump."