The Neymour’s Athletics Club is making a comeback.
Named after club founder known as the, ‘Godfather of Sports,’ Basil O. Neymour, the longstanding track club is beginning the ground- work to revitalize the Track and Field Programme.
Now coached by former sprinter and national team member Jerial Forbes, with former head coach Joe Simmons sitting as president, the club appears to be on the right track in revamping its membership.
This past Saturday, current and former team members met at the Neymour’s residence for a small get together and plaque ceremony, presented to widow of Mr. Neymour, Paula.
All-in-all, Forbes, who came up under Neymour stated that he’s excited about where Neymour’s Athletics is headed with the new crop of talent he has so far.
“I have some amazing kids under my wing,” he expressed, “I’ve got Sonique Anofils, Makayla (Lewis), Angelo. I’ve got a lot of young kids that’s coming up, that have numerous amount of years (left) at the youth level.
“And I’m actually able to develop them step-by-step and give them the fundamentals, and show them the stuff that Joe and Rodger (Charlton) taught me over the years. And with that I just utilize everything that I’ve been taught and I put it out there with the kids, and I’ll watch them progress. From the day they joined until now they’ve definitely been progressing.”
With a majority of the young athletes making their respective schools’ teams for Island Sports, while also competing at the CARIFTA Trials, Forbes believes the future is bright for the revamped club.
“Some was really close (at the CARIFTA Trials), some came up short and some weren’t as healthy as they needed to be. But nonetheless, we have a lot of time with the kids. A lot of them have three or four more years under the CARIFTA level, so I have a lot of time to work with them.”
Forbes’ goal is to keep the mission of helping as many young persons as possible alive, as exhibited by Mr. Neymour. The late Neymour’s example is something the retired sprinter noted, as something that made it easy for parents to trust.
“Basil Neymour, himself, the ‘Godfather of Sports,’ set the platform for persons like myself. He made it easy for parents to put their kids in a programme they knew would benefit them later on. If you look at Neymour’s Athletics track record, you have persons like Michael Mathieu, Andre Williams, Jerome Mitchell, you have so many persons that come from under this banner that has done such great things for the country.
“Everything that I know I’m going to teach them (the athletes) and the future is very bright for Neymour’s Athletics, and at this point in my life this is what I’m going to do; go out there and reach out to more parents and P.E. teachers, and tell them enlist their kids.”
Fourteen-year-old Makayla Lewis, who attends Sister Mary Patricia Russell Junior High said, she saw some notable improvements since joining the Club.
Lewis said the small nature of the club allows for coach Forbes to spend enough time with the athletes and give pointers to the athletes.
“I like how there’s less people and he can focus more on the athletes. You can actually see the mistakes, because at my old track club there were a lot of mistakes with me running that I didn’t recognize and I feel like my coach didn’t get to see it because there was so many of us.
“What I like about him (Forbes) is he encourages a lot and he’ll be right on the side of you, and encouraging you no matter how tired you are.”
Fourteen-year-old Sonique Anofils said, her journey in becoming an elite talent has been difficult since joining the Neymour’s Athletics Club, having to give up the usual food she enjoys eating. But, she understands what it takes to reach the level she’s aspiring to reach.
“I’m getting better every week. I’m getting closer and closer to the time I’m supposed to be at ... Next year I should be very good. I started (track) last month and my time was almost 16 seconds in the 100 meters. Compared to now I’m at 15.01 seconds. I have until June to hit 12 seconds.
“So once I keep training, until 2019, I should be hitting 11 seconds.”