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Coach wants athletes to reach world stage

Coach wants athletes to reach world stage


Michael “Lord Have Mercy” Ollivierre says that he is not perturbed by the efforts of some to have him barred from attending track events here, including the recent inter-secondary school heats and games.{{more}}

Ollivierre said that he intends to focus on his students, and come next year, those who are against him will have more to talk about, as he intends to look for scholarships for those that he trains.

Earlier this year, Ollivierre was informed by the principal and headmaster of the Thomas Saunders Secondary School and the St Vincent Grammar School, respectively, that they did not want him to be part of their institutions’ track and field programmes. Thomas Saunders Secondary School went as far as debarring Ollivierre from attending its sports meet on February 26.

Ollivierre explained that the situations at both institutions were similar. He said he was being shunned because of his success.

“I am not concerned about their behaviour; I am concerned about my athletes,” the coach said.

The objective of attending a meet such as the Penn Relays, he said, was to create opportunities for the student athletes.

Ollivierre has been accused of “poaching” athletes away from other coaches. This he denied, but said that the students feel comfortable around him.

He said that he had options and could have stayed in Jamaica, where he said he coached many successful programmes, with some of his athletes going on to the Penn Relays, where he was also recognized for his achievement.

According to Ollivierre, Godfrey “Fuzzy” Harry, the coach at the Thomas Saunders Secondary School, does not have a system to absorb student athletes and former student athletes, so there is an exodus to his club.

“He (Harry) has been coaching for 20 years; they say I am stealing athletes, right; those athletes that I am stealing they are doing well; what about those that I did not steal? What happened to them?”

Ollivierre said that he has met many disgruntled former student athletes.

“He is just coaching for interschool sports and ego,” Ollivierre said.

Ollivierre further contended that he never asked for the fame and glory and said he does not think he will accept another “Coach of the Year” title if it is awarded on to him.

Furthermore, Ollivierre said that the 2013 team did not perform well at the Penn Relays and that the effort was a complete waste of taxpayers’ money.

“They are being spiteful,” he said, adding that there was no reason to leave out the likes of Shaffiqua Maloney from the squad that took part in the Penn Relays last week.

Maloney clinched the Victrix Ludorum title at this year’s inter-school meet and has been performing consistently over the years.

Despite this, she and another male student were omitted from the squad to travel to the prestigious Penn Relays.

“You leave them home because they training with Mercy,” Ollivierre explained.

Ollivierre maintained that Harry will never be like him, as he is not on an ego trip.

“In school, I was a star, but I did not have any coach, so now I want them to be stars,” Ollivierre told SEARCHLIGHT.

Inter-school and even CARIFTA games are nothing, Ollivierre said, explaining that he is aiming for his athletes to reach the world stage and represent the country in events such as the world youth games, or even as far as the Olympics.

John Renton, principal of the Thomas Saunders Secondary at a press conference on April 19, prior to the departure of a team of athletes from the Thomas Saunders Secondary for the Penn Relays, said that the matter pertaining to Ollivierre and Harry was under review.

He said it would be discussed, and hopefully, there would be some way forward. He declined to say anything more on the matter.

Harry, however, said that he and Ollivierre had no issue with each other. Rather, he said, they did not see “eye to eye and that’s just it.” (DD)