February 7 – In September 2012 when Dalton Myers and his team launched the Road to the Premier League football campaign, there were lots of raised eyebrows around. Actually some thought it was ‘mission impossible’. Today the UWI Football team competes with the best in the league and beats them from time to time.
To quote a story from the Gleaner in January “Debutants UWI FC are holding their own in the Red Stripe Premier League (RSPL). They have taken 23 points from 19 games and are currently eighth in the standings with 23 point.” This was a story which also spoke about making two deals before the transfer window was closed. Now this means that “UWI Sports means business.”
While the mixed bag of achievements with regards to the football programme overhaul is noted, the team in the UWI Sports Department has been busy with their Social Media roll out as part of an overall marketing development plan.
Here is an example of what the website offers http://www.mona.uwi.edu/sports/
But there is more, the official twitter page for the UWI Mona Pelicans looks like and with some more followers should be a force to be reckoned with in College Sport in Jamaica.
A number of other initiatives have come on board among which is a YouTube station which highlights a lot of the sporting activities and there is a SMS Sports update too. Myers has promised that for the 2016/2017 Academic Year – following a full review of existing plans, the department will offer an official update to show the progress of those plans made just about three to four years ago.
“The dynamism of the sports business requires us to be always making adjustments day by day, but the team and I are clear on the mandate and we seek help and assistance where required,” noted Myers. “What the UWI represents with the variety of offerings, we make to make sport one of the outstanding areas of university life,’ added Myers.
Athlete achievement by its own definition can be at times subjective, because when you have someone like Olympian Hansle Parchment who took bronze in the London 2012 Summer Olympic Games and silver in the 2015 World Championships in Beijing in the 110 metres hurdles; you would think you have a wonderful student-athlete, but there is a list which represents a cross-section of sport from 2012.
The list features netball with Thristina Harwood being voted MVP at the World Netball Fast5 in 2013; cricketer, Paul Palmer selected to represent Jamaica in the regional competitions; an average of eight students being selected to represent various teams in track and field; success at the Penn Relays; two national hockey players – these are just some of the many places the student-athletes from the UWI have ended up. And there is so much more. Since 2010, the scholarship programme which used to only benefit athletes in three disciplines, that number has moved to ten as of 2015.
The various sporting teams have stayed very close to the top and can be seen in a number of finals in Inter-Collegiate competitions; but it is really the national representation that seals the deal to let the UWI know “we are on the right path in sport development as an academic institution,” reiterated Myers.
The outreach and development programme is probably one of the newest initiatives and while fairly active in the August Town community; the relationships with other universities internationally is one which the Sports Team at the UWI wants to strengthen. The swimming camp (Winter Training) which was facilitated with the McMaster University in December – is an example of “how we would like to include international partnerships” and those efforts, while requiring more comprehensive plans “will help to strengthen the capacity of the UWI Sports Programme,” said Myers.
The UWI Sports team will have a number of activities for the rest of the calendar year 2016 and has its eyes sets on
- Improved ranking in the Red Stripe Premier League
- Rio 2016 Summer Olympic Games
- Any national/international selection for its students.
Myers was sure with additional resources to boost his existing programme “the UWI can do much more for sport in Jamaica, the Caribbean and continue to make an indelible mark on world sport.”