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Jamaican Olympian peps local athletes

Jamaican Olympian peps local athletes

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Local athletes recently received helpful training tips from former Jamaican hurdler Ian Weakly, who visited St Vincent and the Grenadines (SVG) as a guest of the IT-DAT Academy and took part in the academy sessions held at the Arnos Vale Playing Field.

The Olympian told SEARCHLIGHT that one of the objectives of his visit was to identify young athletic talent, with a view to recruiting in the very near future.

“I have seen the talent… I’ve seen the opportunity … All they have to do is apply themselves … But what I would like to see is the numbers higher, because the higher the numbers, the better the opportunities,” Weakly stated.

Weakly also recommended the hosting of more local meets and giving home-based Vincentian athletes more exposure to regional and international meets. He called for a comprehensive system to be developed to ensure that local athletes stay in the sport even after they have completed school.

He said that while on his short stint he was able to meet some of the parents of the athletes, which laid the foundation for future engagements and prospects.

A certified athletes’ agent of his company All Stars Athletics, Weakly’s trip to SVG was supposed to coincide with the hosting of three days of track and field meets: the inter- primary, inter-secondary and the inter-college meets. However, with the shifting of the dates, Weakly missed the games. He was nevertheless generally pleased with his interaction with those with whom he interfaced.

Weakly reached the final of the 2000 Olympics and earned a Commonwealth silver medal in the 400m. He also has under his belt, two successive Junior Carifta gold medals in the Under-20 400m hurdles, earned at the 1992 and 1993 Games, in Martinique and the Bahamas, respectively.

Weakly is also a former NCCA champion, Penn Relays champion, CAC, World University and World Juniors silver medallist, as well as All-American indoor and outdoor medallist. A former world ranked hurdler, Weakly is a three-time Golden League winner and gained a silver at the Goodwill Games.

He is a former student of the St Elizabeth Technical High in his native Jamaica and received early grooming from Vincentian Michael Ollivierre, who was a long-standing track coach at that institution.

Weakly is a graduate of the South Western Christian College and the George Mason University, both in the USA.

Extending his range since his retirement as professional athlete in 2008, Weakly has roped in two athletes of pedigree under his care. They are World Indoor 60m champion Barbara Pierre and world-ranked hurdler Johnny Dutch.

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