'Special assistance' - High school coaches lure Primary Champs stars with big promises

May 15, 2017
Belmont Park Primary's Akeem Weir celebrates after winning the Class One boys 400m at the INSPORTS Primary School Athletics Championships at the National Stadium recently. He was later disqualifed for a lane violation.


Cassandra Jones, the mother of Akeem Weir, one of the standout performers at this year's INSPORTS Primary Championships, said she has been bombarded with calls and promises from the top schools in the country, seeking to recruit her son.

The 12-year-old Weir, who represented Belmont Park at the championships, was the winner of boys Class One 400m at the event. However, he was disqualified after he was adjudged to have run out of his lane.

The lanky quarter-miler was a third place finisher in the boys 200m. He also helped Belmont Park to second place in the boys Class One 4x100m relay.

"First St Jago, JC (Jamaica College), KC (Kingston College) Wolmer's and Calabar all of them just coming constantly," said Jones. "I have received phone calls day and night, in and out."

Jones added that she has been made several promises by a number of these schools, which are trying desperately to get her son into their institutions.

"They are offering full scholarship for him and say everything will be taken care of straight through him finishing high school and if I want any special assistance they will be there," said Jones.


Very comfortable


"I don't feel any pressure because I am very comfortable where as his coach used to go to Calabar and he says that is a good school and so my son wants to go to Calabar because he always talks about Christopher Taylor," Jones said. "To be honest I think Calabar is a good school educational-wise because I know a lot of people that go there like PJ (Patterson) and so if the school wasn't (good educationally) then they wouldn't come out successful."

In the meantime, St Jago High School girls team coach Jeffery Gordon told Star Sports in an interview on Friday that some track and field coaches are luring students to their high schools with false promises.

Gordon was among coaches from several of Jamaica's most prominent high schools, who were in attendance at the championships with the aim of recruiting athletes for their respective schools.

"What can create an issue are sometimes false promises that are made to parents about what will happen to their kids when they come to their school," said Gordon.


Will not be bribed


Another parent, Lisa Moultin, whose son Amal Wright competed in the Medley Relay for Greater Portmore, said she will not be bribed by anyone in sending her child to their school.

"There is not much pressure because the choice is for my son, whichever school he wants to go that's where he will go to," said Moultin.

"The coaches cannot dictate or bribe me because I understand that there is some bribery out there," she said.

Meanwhile, nine of the ten athletes who were approached by Star Sports during championships, said they had already committed to a high school, whether or not they pass the GSAT for that school this year.

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