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TSS at the ready

TSS at the ready


The contingent representing Thomas Saunders Secondary School (TSS) is pulling out all the stops as they prepare for their inaugural entry to the Penn Relays, United States, in April.{{more}}

The TSS, which has been in existence for five and a half years, will be represented by eight athletes and three officials.

Principal of the institution John Renton is delighted that the TSS students will be the first Vincentian participants at the prestigious event.

“This will be a great thing for the school and St. Vincent and the Grenadines, as it is the first time that a school from this country will be participating at this prestigious event, where more than twenty-two thousand athletes participate,” Renton told SEARCHLIGHT last Friday, as he watched the athletes go through their paces at the Grammar School Playing Field.

“We have some success at the Inter-Schools Athletics; we came first last year in the Boys’ Division at that Meet. Now we are looking for some greater challenges as far as Athletics is concerned,” Renton said, as he discussed one of the driving factors which pushed the school to broaden its scope of competition.

Before heading off to the USA for the Penn Relays, the Thomas Saunders athletes would be sharpening their skills regionally soon.

“We are looking to participate in the Barbados Challenge in February, which we will be using as qualifiers,” Renton revealed.

The principal outlined that TSS has embarked on some vigorous fund-raising efforts to make the athletes’ trips possible.

He said that the school has held a boat ride and a barbecue, which succeeded in raising sufficient funds for the Barbados sojourn. However, getting to the USA is proving a financial hurdle.

“To get to the Penn Relays, it is a significant financial outlay, as airfares alone is $29,000,” Renton revealed.

He expressed optimism that, through sponsorship and good-willed Vincentians, along with the school’s upcoming fund-raisers, St. Vincent and the Grenadines’ maiden entry in the Relays would come to fruition.

Renton stated that accommodation in the USA has been taken care of, by the St. Vincent and the Grenadines Organization of Pennsylvania (SVOPJ), headed by James Cordice.

“We hope that once our athletes get this international exposure, that their talents will be recognized by coaches, and you never know what that might lead them in terms of their future education,” Renton said.

Renton was high in praise for his Physical Education teacher Godfrey Harry, and Athletics Coach Michael Ollivierre, who are responsible for the preparing the young male athletes.

Ollivierre, who spent many years coaching in Jamaica, is employed by the Ministry of Sports, through the National Lotteries Authority.

The Penn Relays is considered the breeding ground for many outstanding athletes in the United States and Jamaica, such as world record holder and Olympic gold medalist Usain Bolt.

The event, also referred to as the Penn Relays Carnival, is the oldest and largest track and field competition in the United States, and dates back to 1895.

It is hosted annually during the latter part of the month of April by the University of Pennsylvania, at the Franklin Field in Philadelphia. (RT)