Local athletes given wise words at int’l event
Just before the Penn Relays came to an end yesterday, members of the Christ Church Foundation team who are in Philadelphia for the annual event, got a chance to have a one-on-one with Olympic Gold medallist, Debbie Ferguson-McKenzie.
Ferguson-McKenzie, who hails from the Bahamas and is of Jamaican parentage, took time out of her schedule share some advice with some of her siblings from the region.
Leaving her legacy in the Caribbean, with 18 CARIFTA medals, seven of which are Gold and the 1995 Austin Sealy Award and Pan-American Championships and World Championships medals, Ferguson-McKenzie, who specialised in the 100 and 200 Metre events is currently the women’s sprints and hurdles coach for the University of Houston.
Speaking to a member of the local media on location at Penn State University where championship is being held, Ferguson-McKenzie stated she was proud to be from the region and that sharing with other athletes from the Caribbean was what made ours a quality apart from the rest of the world.
“Like I told one of the kids, the world is watching. Being from the Caribbean and being a proud person from the region, I don’t care if it is Barbados, Bahamas, Jamaica, wherever it is, you see the difference in the standard of the kids and how they perform and it comes from the teaching,” she said.
Going on to note that the much colder weather was a major factor for athletes from the region, she went on to say that it was a factor that could not be controlled and that the level of maturity exhibited by the athletes as they were warming up properly and staying warm and hydrated, showed that the local coaches were grooming world-class athletes. Adding that she thought the Relays to be an important opportunity for high school students to get some competition experience and exposure, Ferguson-McKenzie said that she was also happy to see teams from the region at the event and hoped that more could make the trip.
“A lot of the times, colleges and universities in the States don’t get a chance to travel to the Caribbean or the CARIFTA Games and this is where they get a opportunity to see something impressive. Our kids have so much talent coming from the islands and I would definitely recommend and encourage more teams,” she said. (MP)