The revelation that there would again be no hurdles event in this year’s Digicel Grand Prix series at the recent launch came as a big shock for many individuals close to the sport.On the schedule are the: 100 metres, 200 metres, 400 metres, 800 metres and 4×400 metres relays, along with the long and high jumps. The latter was added to the list this year.This snub can be seen as a slap in the face for the athletes who are involved in both the intermediate and sprint hurdles. One can understand the hurdles’ absence during last year’s introductory season of the Grand Prix, but it is indeed a big mistake that for the second year in a row this discipline is not one of those events that will be contested.The people who make up the Technical Committee are competent individuals and they do understand the strength of the country’s track and field, so why add the high jump and not one of the hurdle events? Why is it that both the 100m and 200m are being contested at the same meets? They could simply have replaced the 200m with either the 100m hurdles or the 400m hurdles.Outside of the 100 metres, hurdle events have been the country’s most successful at the international level, and athletes doing this discipline should be encouraged.At the last IAAF World Junior Junior Championships in Eugene, Oregon, Jamaica had two medallists as Jaheel Hyde won gold in the 400m hurdles, while Tyler Mason won silver in the 110m hurdles.Last summer, it was gold for Danielle Williams in the women’s 100m hurdles with her sister Shermaine also making the final. In the men’s 110m hurdles Hansle Parchment, an Olympic bronze medallist, won the silver medal here, while Omar McLeod almost made it to the final. Also, the defending champion in the men’s 110 metres hurdles at the Commonwealth Games is none other than our own Andrew Riley.If we are getting success in a particular discipline, we must continue to give the younger athletes in the event the support and encouragement that they need.EXCELLENT TRACK RECORDJamaica’s track record in the hurdles has been excellent over the years with several athletes winning major medals.Among the juniors it started with Gillian Russell and continued with Camille Robinson, Shermaine Williams, Natasha Ruddock, Latoya Greaves, Sherene Pinnock, Yanique Thompson, Jeneive Russell, Marvin Williams and Keiron Stewart who have all won medals at the junior level internationally.Among the seniors the likes of Michelle Freeman, Deon Hemmings, Delloreen Ennis- London, Brigitte Foster-Hylton, Winthrop Graham and Danny McFarlane have all had major success.The Digicel Grand Prix series will start on Saturday February 6 with the Western Championships in Montego Bay and the Youngster Goldsmith inside the National Stadium.There is hope that good sense will prevail and it will not be too late for the organisers to have a change of heart and replace one of the sprint events with either the sprint or intermediate hurdles.- R.G.
The company named by the National Excellence Award as the best GSM Company in Liberia – Cellcom Telecommunications, Inc., has erected one of its communications towers in one of the remotest parts of Liberia so that Liberians in that part of the country can be able to speaking with relatives and friends far and near.A Cellcom release said this is a part of the GSM company’s demonstrated and long standing goal to provide affordable and quality telecommunications to all Liberians. It said the erection of the tower, it described as the ‘Tower of Justice” in Konobo District, Grand Gedeh, was done in partnership with the US based health group Tiyatian Health. Through the partnership, which is endorsed by the Clinton Global Initiative, the new tower will allow frontline health workers of Tiyatian Health to use mobile telecommunications devices to provide lifesaving health care to thousands of mothers in very remote parts of Grand Gedeh County. The tower is also the first telecommunications network to be planted in that part of the country since the nation’s history.“It is providing much needed communications service to thousands of residents who have been cut off from the rest of Liberia and the world,” Cellcom said.Making the announcement at a joint press conference held at the Cellcom Headquarters in Monrovia executives from Cellcom and Tiyatian termed the venture “a tower of justice” and referred to the partnership as a “golden triangle” because it brought together a private company, a civil society NGO and the Government. Tiyatian Health executive director, Dr. Raj Panjabi, reflected that many deaths had happened in Konobo because frontline workers had no way to communicate with referral hospitals to call for doctors or ambulances. He noted that with the establishment of the new tower, mothers and their children would no longer have to die because of the lack of communications. He noted the challenges of getting this project off the ground, “the challenge was huge….this was not a place that was a natural place for a Telecom company to go to. It took courage and it took risk to go there. And Cellcom, under Avishai Marziano’s leadership and the leadership of the executive team, really stepped up in trying to help solve this gap. They came to the table with an amazing partnership to bring Konobo’s first mobile network and I’m happy to report that we have been able to see this dream come alive. Now never again will somebody have to die because they cannot call for help.” He observed that the benefits extended even beyond telecommunications to all segments of society. He said: “We are seeing this impact already not just on health care, but on business and at a very personal level. We are seeing what can happen when mobile telecommunications comes to a place like Konobo and families can call each other.”The executive director of Tiyatian Health reiterated the benefits of the tower and also demonstrated the power of the network by making one of the first calls to Konobo District. The call was placed to a local resident of Konobo, who expressed thanks and appreciation to Cellcom and noted: “Thanks to Cellcom, we the people of Konobo now feel like we are part of Liberia.”For his part, Cellcom’s Chief Corporate Communications Strategist, Dr. Kimmie Weeks, said that the launch of the tower in Konobo was one of Cellcom’s proudest moments. “We have been building towers across the country, but we all felt passionate about this because of how it would save and transform lives in real ways. I have always been proud to be a part of this Company, but I am even prouder now because of the way Cellcom stepped up to meet the needs of a population when no other GSM company was willing to do so.”The formal launching program for the tower will take place in Konobo this week. Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)