Minister of Sport Olivia ‘Babsy’ Grange says a scholarship, valued at $1.8 million, has been established to commemorate the 100th birthday of Jamaica’s first Olympic gold medallist, Arthur Wint.
The scholarship will be awarded to a second-year student enrolled in a four-year degree programme at G.C. Foster College for Physical Education and Sport and will cover tuition and accommodation for the remainder of the programme, as long as the recipient satisfies certain requirements.
Grange told The Gleaner that a GPA of 3.0 or above will be required to qualify for the scholarship, and also noted that the successful applicant must agree to participate in initiatives and programmes organised by G.C. Foster College and the Ministry of Culture, Gender, Entertainment and Sport, aimed at promoting the work of the school, the ministry and the legacy of Arthur Wint.
PAVED THE WAY
“Arthur Wint led the way, literally, and, we might say, set the pace for Jamaica’s track athletes,” said Grange. “His winning the first Olympic medal for Jamaica gives him a place in our glorious track and field history that no one can ever take from him.”
Meanwhile, principal of G.C. Foster College, Maurice Wilson, said he is delighted to be partnering with the Ministry of Sport in establishing this scholarship in honour of Wint.
“I am very excited about this scholarship award because I think it is more than timely,” said Wilson. “The sports ministry and G.C. Foster College have had an excellent relationship, especially through the sports minister, who has always been a friend of the college,” Wilson said.
“I think if a scholarship was to be given in honour of the great Arthur Wint, then there is no other place that student should attend than G.C. Foster College,” Wilson noted.
Dr Warren Blake, president of the Jamaica Athletics Administrative Association, described the decision to establish a scholarship in Wint’s honour as an excellent move by the sports minister.
“I think it is a good idea to recognise one of our stalwarts by way of a scholarship in his honour,” said Dr Blake. “I just want to implore the individual that will receive this scholarship that he or she should remember the name and the achievements of the person whose name that they have been given an award in.”
“I think that they should try to emulate his achievements, if not on the track, (then) in academics,” Dr Blake said.
Wint would have turned 100 on May 25. He captured the country’s first Olympic gold medal when he won the men’s 400m in 46.2 seconds in London, England, in 1948. He also won silver in the 800m at those Games, before returning in 1952 to win gold in the 4x400m and silver in the 800m at the Helsinki Olympics.
The Manchester native died in 1992 at the age of 72.
Ms. Tamara Harris - Representative, Strathmore Gardens Children’s Home
G.C. Foster College embarked on an initiative to offer support to the community during this time of crisis due to the COVID-19 pandemic. On May 13, 2020, care packages were distributed to members of the surrounding community who have exhibited a need and would have benefitted from the College’s support over the years. The G.C. Foster College continues to shine as a beacon of light, not only through physical education and sport, but through supporting the community.
It’s clear that the athletics family wants to be ready to speed as soon as the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) is brought under control. That’s what the promise of late-season meets, locally and internationally, convey to me. The same goes for the possible staging of national championships in August.
As suggested by Sprintec Track Club founder and head coach Maurice Wilson a few weeks ago, it seems that the sport can ill afford to be absent when the coast is clear.
“I don’t think we have the luxury in track and field not to be connecting with the public for almost one year,” Wilson said. “The sport has been losing marketability over a period of time and I believe, in a year where persons are, if I should use the word, sports thirsty, it is an opportune time for us to, later on in the year, have some very competitive matchups, having persons who don’t normally race each other racing each other to generate back the public interest.”
These signals give all the stakeholders some hope. While they wait for a light at the end of this tunnel and daily reports of tragedy and recovery, some plough through cassette tapes and videodiscs and YouTube to get a taste of their favourite sport.
Others have given up and amuse themselves with mathematical brain puzzles.
The only real option is patience. Though there has been steady anti-COVID-19 action in Jamaica and elsewhere, the light at the end of the tunnel could be a way off. Schools have yet to complete the Easter term. The longer they must stay closed, the more it becomes likely that the school year will end many weeks past the usual date early in July.
We’ve already seen the shift of the 2020 Olympic Games into 2021 and it would be great if the world became healthy enough for sport to kick back into gear before the New Year. The reality is that, though we’d all love to have special compact version of the Diamond League and the completion of the English Premier League, any resumption date set now is provisional.
Every energy has to be devoted to keeping everyone healthy.
In the meantime, sport can be used as a powerful beacon of hope. Last weekend, World Athletics posted 10 inspiring stories on its website. One of them detailed the patience and determination of Merlene Ottey to become an individual outdoor World Champion. She made it in 1993 at the World Championship in Stuttgart, Germany. Even there, she faced adversity. She lost the 100m to Olympic champion Gail Devers by a smidgen as both got the same time – 10.82 seconds. Then, she barely held off another Olympic gold medallist, Gwen Torrence, to take the 200m.
She was 33 then, and many thought she should have already put her spikes away. Instead, she persevered and became Jamaica’s first World Champion at 200m, male or female.
Jamaicans everywhere will have to call on Ottey’s determination and discipline to drive this health challenge away. She didn’t give up and neither should we.
This interlude without sport is many things. It’s time to reflect. It’s time to look ahead, to cultivate new habits and to refresh old methods.
It’s definitely not time to give up.
Hubert Lawrence has scrutinised local and international track and field athletics since 1980.