Intercol the seat of our future heroes - Paul Francis
Paul Francis, managing director of Quality Logistics Events, which manages the Intercollegiate Track and Field and Cheerleading Championships, has called on local fans to support the collegiate championships as it has given Jamaica its first glance of greatness from many of the country's celebrated athletes.
The Intercollegiate Championships, which is scheduled for April 6 and 7 at the National Stadium this year, has been one of the least supported track meets on the athletic calendar, not being able to attract a fraction of the support its high-school equivalent garners annually.
"For the past two decades, the Intercollegiate Track and Field Championships has essentially been the real seat of the introduction to greatness for Jamaican track and field. The great majority of success that we have had over the past 10 years has featured persons who first showed a real inclination at the Intercollegiate Track and Field Championships, ranging from Asafa Powell to Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce to Elaine Thompson," Francis explained.
Powell, who went on to break the world record for the 100 metres twice, first ran under 10 seconds at Intercol. He went on to record 97 more sub-10 clockings, only two shy of the century mark.
Francis also pointed out that two-time Olympic 100 metres champion Fraser-Pryce also showed her first real signs of greatness at this meet.
"If you remember, Fraser-Pryce won at Intercol, then she went on to win the 100 metres at the Penn Relays, then later that year she won the 100 metres at the Olympic Games," Francis said.
"Elaine Thompson, nobody knew who she was. She performed at Intercol, breaking Sherone Simpson's record and then they saw her later in the year in a very exciting race taking Dafne Schippers to the line and got a silver medal for Jamaica in the World Championships," Francis said of Thompson, who is currently the sprint double champion from the Rio de Janeiro Olympic Games.
He added: "Rasheed Dwyer made his name at Intercol, Hansle Parchment, and Sasha-Lee Forbes who had her first national outing last year. It is the seat of our future heroes."