Richards-Ross hopes new books will in­spire

Jamaica Gleaner - - SPORTS - Ray­mond Gra­ham Gleaner Writer

SEV­ERAL OF the coun­try’s top lo­cal sports ad­min­is­tra­tors, in­clud­ing sports min­is­ter Olivia ‘Babsy’ Grange, were among a fair-sized crowd at the Span­ish Court Ho­tel ball­room last Satur­day evening, where many-time Olympian Sanya Richards-Ross had the launch­ing of her two books, Run With Me, and Chas­ing Grace.

The stage was set very early for a grand func­tion with young David Richards, a stu­dent of Vaz Prep and nephew of Sanya, read­ing an ex­cerpt from Run With Me, which was well re­ceived by the crowd. Ex­cerpts from Chas­ing Grace were read by for­mer Net­ball Ja­maica pres­i­dent Marva Bernard.

Be­fore Richards-Ross took the stage, there were greet­ings from Mike Fen­nell, pres­i­dent of the Ja­maica Olympic As­so­ci­a­tion, fol­lowed by Richards-Ross mak­ing pre­sen­ta­tions to her for­mer schools, Vaz Prep and Im­mac­u­late Con­cep­tion High, and to Grange, who got sev­eral of the for­mer sprinter’s out­fits, in­clud­ing the run­ning vest that she wore when she won the 400m gold at the Lon­don Olympics in 2012. Grange also re­ceived Richards-Ross’ books, which will be dis­played in the Na­tional Sports Mu­seum, which Grange had pre­vi­ously said is cur­rently be­ing con­structed.

EMO­TIONAL PRAISE

Both Fen­nell and Grange spoke highly of Richards-Ross and lauded her for her new ven­ture, but it was an emo­tional Richards-Ross who spoke at the end, pay­ing homage to all who had helped her in achiev­ing her goals. “I feel hon­oured to­day, see­ing the peo­ple com­ing out to sup­port me in the launch­ing of my books, and I would like to thank Min­is­ter Grange and Mr Fen­nell for mak­ing this hap­pen, and a big thank you to my brother, Dwayne, as he was very in­stru­men­tal in me launch­ing this in Ja­maica,” she said. “Min­is­ter Grange, you have al­ways been sup­port­ive, as, de­spite me run­ning in a dif­fer­ent colour, I al­ways see you at the Penn Re­lays and other meets, and you have al­ways sup­ported me,” she con­tin­ued.

She was very emo­tional when she spoke about her time at Vaz Prep. “Vaz is a high-qual­ity school with a com­pet­i­tive cur­ricu­lum that also af­forded me na­tional-cal­i­bre coaches. They set the team up for suc­cess by in­still­ing me­chan­ics at a young age and al­lowed us to prac­tise well. When I moved on, it be­came so easy for me. To for­mer prin­ci­pal, Bev­erly Ulett, she was like a sec­ond mother, as her home was al­ways wel­come for me, and even now, it has not changed,” she said. She also had kind words about her fam­ily. Also to my mom, Sharon, dad, Archie, and sis­ter Shari, they have al­ways sup­ported me over the years. When I first stepped on the track to rep­re­sent Vaz, I heard my par­ents, fam­ily, class­mates and friends cheer­ing for me,” she said.

Richards-Ross said she is hop­ing her books will in­spire oth­ers. “My jour­ney car­ried me be­yond the track. Through my books, I hope my sto­ries will help you see your own ex­pe­ri­ence through God’s lens as life cap­tured on a per­fect photo fin­ish,” she con­cluded. Run With Me was pub­lished to tar­get younger read­ers, while Chas­ing Grace was fo­cused at a more grown up au­di­ence. Both books are now on sale at the Kingston Book­shop.

In this file photo, United States’ Sanya Richards-Ross cel­e­brates her win in the women’s 400-me­tres fi­nal.

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