Hubert Lawrence | Student athletes and academics

first_img GOOD NEWS It’s brilliant that a fourth-form class of 33 students at Wolmer’s Girls’ School could sit CXC Mathematics and hammer it to the tune of 33 distinctions. This accomplishment speaks volumes about the aptitude and attitude of the girls, the work of their teacher and the learning environment provided at the school. A closer look reveals good news for sport. Five of those 33 bright sparks represent Wolmer’s in sport. This quintet includes national Under-17 goalkeeper Oneilia Yearde, three track and field hopefuls and the other is part of the traditionally strong Wolmer’s volleyball group. Their success flies in the face of the conventional wisdom that asserts that academics and sport don’t mix. We’ve all heard the stories about sportsmen who needed help to complete their travel documents, capable only of a barely legible scribble for a signature. I haven’t heard those tales in years. The Inter-Secondary Schools Sports Association (ISSA), the governing body for high school sport and the teachers in our schools deserve a lot of credit. Years ago, ISSA instituted a minimum academic performance eligibility rule. This statute sets out to ensure that student-athletes have to make an effort in the classroom as well as on the field of play. Recently, I witnessed a teacher handing out assignments to members of a Manning Cup team after a match. She issued a word of encouragement to each recipient and reminded all of the due date for completion. That type of care and diligence for our student-sports is very valuable. The teacher of the Wolmer’s 33 is Lance McFarlane, a Boys and Girls’ Championships medal-winning sprint hurdler and 400-metre runner for Kingston College (KC) in 1999 and 2000. Teacher McFarlane represents another piece of good news. Though his days as an active athlete are long gone, he is excelling in the classroom. With his help, those 33 young ladies have put CXC mathematics behind them. Now they can tackle fifth form with a lighter course load and with the confidence that they can do well at whatever they choose. He also is a symbol of a productive life for retired sportsmen and women. Retirement comes sooner, for some like McFarlane, or later for luminaries like the incomparable Usain Bolt, but it comes nevertheless. If they pursue their new lives with the energy they showed as athletes, they can be successful. Some may walk away as Bolt plans to do next year as global brands, with the world at their feet. Others may test the waters in business before they retire like super sprinter Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce. Whatever the course of action, all must carefully map the way forward for the rest of their lives. For now, let’s all hail Yearde and her fellow student-athletes in that stellar group of 33 at Wolmer’s Girl’s. Along with their teacher, they represent bright hope for the future. – Hubert Lawrence has made notes at trackside since 1980.last_img read more

Defense team member for Saddam found dead

first_img AD Quality Auto 360p 720p 1080p Top articles1/5READ MOREWalnut’s Malik Khouzam voted Southern California Boys Athlete of the Week Hours later, his body, bearing signs of torture, was found on a sidewalk by the Fardous Mosque in the nearby Ur neighborhood. Sunni insurgents are known to have disguised themselves in police or military uniforms in attacks usually targeting Shiites. But Sunni Arab leaders have accused Interior Ministry forces or militias allied to the Shiite-led government of killing Sunnis taken from their homes by men in uniform. The killing spread fear among the other 12 defense lawyers at Wednesday’s opening session of the trial for Saddam and seven co-defendants. On Friday, they demanded that the trial now set to resume Nov. 28 – be postponed if investigations into the slaying are not finished. They also demanded the government provide them protection and even move the trial outside Iraq, said Khamees Hamid al-Ubaidi, one of Saddam’s two lawyers. Moving the trial seemed highly unlikely. The government has fiercely rejected any international venue, insisting Saddam should be tried by Iraqis in Iraq. BAGHDAD, Iraq – The body of a lawyer in Saddam Hussein’s trial was found dumped in the street with two bullet wounds in the head hours after gunmen dressed as security forces took him from his office. A fearful defense team demanded Friday that the trial be delayed or moved out of Iraq. Four American service members were killed in insurgent attacks, edging the total number of U.S. military deaths near 2,000 since the start of the Iraq war. Investigators were trying to determine if the killers of Sunni Arab lawyer Saadoun Sughaiyer al-Janabi were Saddam opponents lashing out at the defense team or perhaps Sunni insurgents – including many Saddam supporters – trying to disrupt the trial. Al-Janabi was the lawyer for Awad Hamed al-Bandar, the former head of Saddam’s Revolutionary Court. Ten gunmen wearing police and military uniforms walked into al-Janabi’s office Thursday evening in Baghdad’s Shaab neighborhood, and he went with them without resistance, police Maj. Falah al-Mohammedawi said. “It is time to lay low,” al-Ubaidi said. “When something like this happens, who wouldn’t be terrified?” He said he had taken personal steps for security but would not elaborate. Government officials, including some from the Interior Ministry, were meeting Friday night to discuss protecting defense lawyers, al-Ubaidi said. Ministry and government officials could not immediately be reached for comment on the meeting or the lawyers’ demands. Saddam and his co-defendants face possible death sentences if convicted on charges of murder and torture for the 1982 massacre of 148 Shiites in the town of Dujail. They have pleaded not guilty. Heavy security was provided for trial prosecutors and judges, who were considered likely targets of insurgents. Their names have not been revealed and their faces were not shown in the broadcast of Wednesday’s opening session – with the exception of the presiding judge and the top prosecutor, whose identities were revealed for the first time. But no security measures were extended to the defense lawyers. Their identities have been known, though most of them have not been prominent in the press. “The government exerts its best efforts to provide security for all people and all those involved in the trial, but we cannot provide total security because of the violence in the country,” government spokesman Laith Kubba said earlier Friday, condemning the slaying. “We do not know who was behind this operation. Is it designed to hinder the trial process or is it a case of vendetta?” Saddam’s chief lawyer, Khalil al-Dulaimi, said after the kidnapping that defense lawyers had been threatened in recent weeks by e-mail, mobile phone text messages and telephone calls. During Wednesday’s session, al-Janabi, with silver hair and a dark black mustache, sat with the other defense lawyers in two rows of desks to the right of their clients, who sat inside a white pen with metal bars.last_img read more