URGE FORWARD Bert Cameron, the elder statesman of the 400 metres, is full of praise for the young Jamaicans who currently compete in his pet event. Cameron, the 1983 World 400 metres champion, is also encouraging the likes of 2016 Olympic 4×400 relay silver medal winners Javon Francis and Nathon Allen to excel in the individual event. Speaking before a Cameron Blazers training session earlier this week, the 1984 and 1988 Olympic finalist was looking forward to great days for Francis, Allen and other upcoming Jamaicans in the 400m. “I can’t wait to see the day when the quarter-milers are genuinely back because that’s the only race I really love,” he hoped. “I just want to see those individual runners get to finals,” he said. The last Jamaican male 400m runner to reach a World or Olympic final is Jermaine Gonzales, who raced to a close fourth in the 2011 World Championships. Gonzales, who is making progress after several injury setbacks, was among those hard at work during the ensuing Blazers workout. At the 2016 Olympics, Francis and Rusheen McDonald, national record holder at 43.93 seconds, both reached the semi-final stage, but no further. With Allen blazing a 43.5-second relay leg in the heats and Francis storming a 43.9 anchor in the final, Jamaica took silver in the relay. That earned praise from Cameron. It also led him to urge them all forward. “If you win a silver medal in an open event then you know you’re doing something,” he said. Cameron believes fast running in individual races should spill over into the relay. “And then, if you’re running that fast in the individual races,” he asserted, “then you know that you run faster relays, at least a second faster.” After naming Francis and Allen specifically, he predicted: “I see some good young quarter-milers, so hopefully, we can challenge the United States because remember we’ve won that before.” That comment was a reference to the Jamaican 4x400m victory over the Americans in the 1952 Olympics in London by Arthur Wint, Les Laing, Herb McKenley and George Rhoden. Jamaica also beat the USA to win World Indoor titles in 1991 and 2004. “You know, those days will come back,” said the coach who directed Gonzales to a number 2 world ranking in 2010, Rosemarie Whyte-Robinson to the 2012 Olympic women’s final, and Tiffany James to the World Under-20 gold medal this summer. “I want to live to see that,” he concluded.
Montserrado County Electoral District #9 Representative, Munah E. P. Youngblood, yesterday admonished young Liberians, especially those in the sporting arena to cherish peace rather than turning to violent activities that would derail the country’s peace.The female lawmaker spoke at a program marking the opening of three days of sporting activities organized by Pen-Pen Peace Network-Liberia with support from PURDUE Liberal Arts Peace Project.Rep. Youngblood, on the topic, “The Benefit in Building Peace,” told the gathering that peace-building is an intervention that is designed to prevent the start of violent conflict by creating sustainable peace. She said peace-building activities address the root causes or potential causes of violence, create a societal expectation for peaceful conflict resolution and stabilize society politically and socioeconomically.Rep. Youngblood called on the youth to join together to constructively resolve their differences without violence to improve the quality of their respective lives.The sporting activities are held with focus on bridging elections-related tension and conflict under PURDUE’s Peaceful 2017 Elections Project.The program, which was held at the Lecemento Sports Pitch in the Matadi Community in Monrovia, is expected to pit teams headed by the community, the Pen-Pen riders, and the Liberia National Police (LNP) in collaboration with the Community Watch Forums against one another.Earlier in her remarks, PURDUE-Liberia Country Director, Grace Yeanay-Mayson, said the activities are hosted to enhance the relationship between and among the police, Community Watch Forum and the Pen-Pen riders. The intention, Mrs. Mayson said, is to arrive at a peaceful or non-violent election in 2017, “because it is only Liberians who can maintain peace at all times.”According to her, bringing together the LNP, the community dwellers and the motorcyclists is part of PURDUE’s activities to seek sustained peace. The three days of activities began with sporting activities such as soccer, involving the LNP, Pen-Pen Unions and the various communities. Other games are scrabble, Ludo, Cards, Bag Jumping, as well as Checkers. PURDUE-Peace Project USA, which is providing sponsorship for the activities, operates under the general theme, “One Nation, One People. Together We Can Have Violent-free Election-2017.”T-shirts worn by representatives and players of each of the participating teams carried the inscriptions, “The Youths say no to election violence-2017, violence-free election is my goal as a motorcyclist/ community dweller.”Those who made separate remarks included police officers Dora M. Sangbah and Ebrima Saar, who along with his Indian counterpart represented the United Nations Mission in Liberia (UNMIL), who underscored the importance of peace in Liberia.Meanwhile, it has been announced that each winner will walk away with cash and or a gold and silver cup with the inscription, “Violent-free elections-2017.” Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)