first_img However, it wasn’t until Francis, his brother, Paul, the late David Noel and Bruce James formed the MVP and with the consent of the professor of speed, Dennis Johnson, formed an alliance with the University of Technology that has changed the face and the fortunes of Jamaican track and field. Athletes trained by Stephen have set world records and won 56 World Championships and 28 Olympic medals but his contribution is to be measured in more than just medals. On one hand, world records by Asafa Powell and gold medals won by Shelly-Ann Fraser Pryce, Melaine Walker and Brigitte Foster-Hylton have made all Jamaicans proud. On the other, the MVP/UTech model has been copied as well as admired by other ambitious local clubs and institutions. Now, thanks in large part to the example provided by the MVP and UTech, there is a productive Jamaican alternative for those who want to combine athletics with academics. Stephen Francis can be blunt, but those close to him speak as much about his genius as his compassion and his playful sense of humour. At one memorable training session at the National Stadium East field, the coach had the entire training group rolling in laughter. On another, he cracked jokes like a stand-up comic as the group did exercises on the all purpose court in front of the Alfred Sangster Auditorium at the University of Technology. Few will see that side of him but thanks to the National Awards event earlier this week, they can look admiringly at his body of work and say, well done Stephen Francis. – Hubert Lawrence has made notes at trackside since 1980. It’s a sign of how important success in track and field is to Jamaica that the sport’s operatives often get national awards. Just days ago, volunteer official Ian Forbes and coaches Stephen Francis and Maurice Wilson stood in the spotlight on National Heroes Day alongside hundreds who have served the country with distinction. All three deserve to stand in such company. Forbes has continued his family’s record of service in sport. His father, Headley, is a giant, and Ian has carried on brilliantly. In addition to his work at Jamaica College, he has served as a meet official, director of the JC Invitational and manager of national teams at the youth and senior level. Ian and Ray Harvey were especially good as they led the wonderful meet-management team that did Jamaica proud when it staged the 2002 World Junior Championship. Wilson has not only distinguished himself by coaching Holmwood Technical to 10 wins at Girls’ Championships but also by serving as technical leader to Jamaica’s most successful Olympic and World Championship teams and by teaching the next generation of fitness and sport practitioners at the G.C. Foster College for Physical Education and Sport. Now, his Sprintec Track Club has produced a 2017 World Championships medal winner in 400-metre hurdler Ristananna Tracey and a 2014 Commonwealth champion in Rasheed Dwyer. His work, both as teacher and coach, will continue to bear fruit. Before Francis arrived with his MVP Track Club family in 1999, 99.9 per cent of our champions were nurtured abroad. Patrick Robinson made the 1964 Olympic team while a student at the University of the West Indies. Generations later, the Jamalco Track Club guided Michael McDonald to world class in the 400 metres. Successful alliancelast_img read more

first_imgGo back to the enewsletterClick the cover to view the ebrochureBack-Roads Touring has launched its 2020 Europe program, featuring nine brand new tours, two new countries and 20 reinvigorated itineraries. Popular tours including Corners of Cornwall and Italian Indulgence feature as well.Launching in 2020 is the new Christmas Markets: The Best of Saxony and Bohemia tour including a visit to the iconic Striezelmarkt in Dresden – one of Germany’s oldest markets – and the opportunity to sleep in a castle at Schloss Purschenstein, set at the Erzgebirge mountain range.For sunseekers, the Provence and the French Riviera tour offers guests the opportunity to delight in brilliant Provence. With an improved itinerary, guests can enjoy a wine-tasting at a local winery in one of the most famous wine regions of the world, and tuck into a delicious picnic in the glorious surrounds of an olive farm.The tours will be on sale with 10% off from now until 30 September 2019, with the offer featuring selected guaranteed departures on all European 2020 trips.Secrets of Puglia 2020Back-Roads Touring General Manager – Global Sales, David Gendle, said now is the perfect time to book a European or UK holiday for 2020, with the added bonus of the launch offer.“The launch of our new product range, including nine brand-new tours, and significant savings, the allure of planning your European getaway with Back-Roads has never been more enticing,” Gendle said.Christmas Markets: The Best of Saxony and Bohemia 2020 – Strizelmarktz“We’re constantly working to improve our products and make our experiences the best they can be, so our new and upgraded tours are a direct reflection on what customers and past Back-Roads guests have asked for, including more hands-on historical experiences and authentic epicurean discoveries.“From visiting a reindeer farm in Lapland to browsing the stalls at Gallipoli’s famous fish market, and exploring the candy-coloured villages of Cinque Terre, we pride ourselves on our offering of truly unforgettable holiday experiences that feed the curiosity of mature travellers.An Austro Hungarian Christmas – 2020, ViennaThe nine new additions to Back-Roads’ existing European tour offering include:Hampton Court Flower ShowEnglish Christmas MarketsTreasures of ScotlandThe Headlands of IrelandA Traditional Alsace ChristmasChristmas Markets: The Best of Saxony and BohemiaAn Austro-Hungarian ChristmasA Scandinavian JourneyNorthern Lights: A Lapland WinterA Scandinavian Journey and Northern Lights: A Lapland Winter will take guests to two countries never explored by Back-Roads Touring before, Sweden and Finland.For further information and the full list of tours, click hereLead image: Wackerbarth Castle, visited on the Christmas Markets: The Best of Saxony and Bohemia itinerary*Terms and Conditions: The 10% EB1 saving is valid on UK & Europe 2020 tours, select departures only. Valid only for bookings made between 3 July – 30 September 2019. 10% offer is not combinable with any other discount. Subject to availability at time of booking. Back-Roads Touring reserves the right to amend or withdraw this offer at any time. Discount applies to tour cost only. For full terms see www.backroadstouring.comGo back to the enewsletterlast_img read more