The IL Cares Foundation’s latest initiative in giving back to the youth and the community, is just a week away. A track and field event is slated.
This coming September 21-22, the On Your Mark Track and Field Expo will feature world renowned American sprinter Justin Gatlin. The American Olympic and World sprint champion will be sharing his wealth of track and field expertise with a number of aspiring athletes by detailing some of his experiences while rising to the top.
The clinic is scheduled to take place at the Grand Bahama Sports Complex.
Gatlin will be joined by Ohio State University’s Joel Brown who also serves as a sprint/hurdles coach and recruiter. Bahamian throws coach Don Johnson and jumps coach Peter Pratt will round-out the list.
Event coordinator Davina Rutherford spoke with The Freeport News this past Friday to outline just what the up-and-coming junior athletes can expect from next weekend’s clinic.
“We wanted to do a preseason clinic to assist with training techniques that runners can use to improve their times, skills and so on. So, we’ll be featuring Olympian Justin Gatlin and Ohio State coach Joel Brown. We’ll also have two coaches out of New Providence. Don Johnson, he will be focusing on the throws and Peter Pratt, the jumps.
“So we’re inviting all schools, all track clubs, all persons that are interested.”
A scrimmage meet is expected to take place on the final evening of the clinic, which will feature the 100, 400 and 4x100-meter races. Rutherford noted that the foundation found it appropriate to ensure that athletes on the island get the ball rolling early, just to see where they are at physically and mentally, before their regular season training begins.
“We figured it would be a good idea for athletes to see where they are before the season actually started and see what they have to work toward.
“Obviously IL Cares wanted to give back to the community in a major way so they decided to partner with us because they saw it as a good way of pouring into the community and the youth. It’s an opportunity for a scout to look at you and of course work with Justin Gatlin.”
Thanks to Gatlin’s relationship with an unnamed Bahamian athlete, Rutherford described having Gatlin be a part of the clinic as a “gift.”
“Honestly, having Justin Galtin, I would say, is a gift. He actually trains with someone from The Bahamas, so he wanted to do something in Grand Bahama.”
Rutherford furthered that athletes can expect to receive a wealth of knowledge and advice from the Olympian.
“He’ll be going through some of his experiences - Olympic experience; World Championships experience; his training regimen; what he eats; his workouts, - things like that. And there will be a surprise for one or two lucky schools because he’ll actually be visiting the schools, because he loves talking with children and just giving them tips he didn’t have when he was coming up.
“He’s very excited about coming. He can’t wait and he’s really looking forward to meeting all of the athletes and parents. That Friday the parents are invited to come out and watch the clinic as it goes on,” she concluded.