Im­mac­u­late eyes long-term growth with new re­cruits

Jamaica Gleaner - - SPORTS - Rachid Parch­ment Sports News Co­or­di­na­tor

IM­MAC­U­LATE CON­CEP­TION High School (ICHS) track and field coach Floyd Quar­rie says they are em­bark­ing on what he sees as a long-term plan to im­prove its pro­gramme, with a larger num­ber of young ath­letes tak­ing up the sport this sea­son.

Im­mac­u­late, who fin­ished 12th at the ISSA/GraceKennedy Boys and Girls’ Ath­let­ics Cham­pi­onships (Champs) last year, achieved that feat with 29 ath­letes. This sea­son, that num­ber has al­most dou­bled as there are 57 girls train­ing for com­pe­ti­tion in sprint­ing, hur­dles, throws, and jumps.

“We have a num­ber in mind, in terms of the points we want to score (at Champs),” Quar­rie told The Sun­day Gleaner. “Def­i­nitely, ev­ery­one is geared to­wards that. Last year, we fell short of the top 10 be­cause of in­juries and mishaps at Champs. This time, we’re look­ing to make a strong pres­ence in the top 10 bracket.

“We pride our­selves on try­ing to im­prove ev­ery year. We’re known for hav­ing a lot of hur­dlers, so we ac­tu­ally ap­pre­ci­ate this be­cause it helps us to build on the tech­ni­cal as­pect in the events. In the past, we’ve had to use makeshift hur­dles made of pipes to ac­com­mo­date us. Ac­tu­ally hav­ing a full flight of hur­dles to com­ple­ment the pro­gramme gives us a boost.”

Head coach Franz Forde says the suc­cess of shot put­ter Danielle Slo­ley, over a num­ber of years, has aided in the team re­cruit­ment.

AMAZ­ING THINGS

“It did amaz­ing things, not just for the throws pro­gramme, but the track and field pro­gramme as a whole,” he said. “We have more than 57 girls right now in the pro­gramme. A lot of them started join­ing be­cause they were aware of Danielle Slo­ley. We’re re­ally grate­ful for that. It brought it ju­nior throw­ers this year, girls who thought that they never had the po­ten­tial to run. Danielle made them aware that there’s some­thing out­side of running and they can come and throw.”

While Cal­abar High, Kingston Col­lege, and Ja­maica Col­lege, all con­tenders for the Boys’ title, have cre­ated syn­thetic tracks for their de­vel­op­ment pro­grammes, ICHS has sought in­fras­truc­tural de­vel­op­ment, too, with the help of spon­sors Ac­cupower Ja­maica and the New York chap­ter of its Alum­nae As­so­ci­a­tion.

Ac­cupower has given the school new train­ing equip­ment con­sist­ing of hur­dles, blocks, shots for throw­ers, and sand for jumpers. Ac­cupower com­mer­cial di­rec­tor Chris-Tal­bert Gold­ing said it was a ful­fill­ing feel­ing see­ing how the ath­letes re­sponded to re­ceiv­ing them.

“We re­alised that the sport it­self was a very ex­pen­sive en­deav­our,” he said. “They would’ve high­lighted that there were some par­tic­u­lar needs, to us, in­clud­ing hur­dles, and a num­ber of other things, in­clud­ing blocks, that they needed, to re­ally get their pro­gramme go­ing to en­sure that they have the prac­tice with the right equip­ment so that they can ex­e­cute come game day. We thought it was pru­dent to sup­port them in this en­deav­our.”

Team cap­tain Shantelle Ri­ley is ea­ger to see the ben­e­fits of the new equip­ment.

“We feel very good be­cause this shows that the girls are step­ping up,” she said. “Peo­ple are see­ing what we’re ca­pa­ble of and that we can do well in the sport. We’re try­ing to ex­cel at all the events, but we’re try­ing to step it up in the hur­dles, es­pe­cially.”

RU­DOLPH BROWN/PHO­TOG­RA­PHER

Terry-Ann Corke-Ma­habeer (sec­ond left), man­ager of Ac­cupower Ja­maica Lim­ited, and Chris-Tal­bert Gold­ing (third right), com­mer­cial di­rec­tor of Crit­i­cal So­lu­tions Group of Com­pa­nies, Ac­cupower Ja­maica, at a han­dover of hur­dles to Im­mac­u­late Con­cep­tion High at the school last Fri­day. Oth­ers in pho­to­graph (from left) are head coach Franz Forde, Shaneil Lysight, team cap­tain Shantelle Ri­ley, and as­sis­tant coach Floyd Quar­rie.

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