Laying a foundation for Guyana’s future in athletics

DPI, GUYANA, Thursday, July 6, 2017

Alan Greenspan an American economist once said, “To succeed, you will soon learn, as I did, the importance of a solid foundation in the basics of education – literacy, both verbal and numerical, and communication skills.

Andrea Foster with achievement in the one year she spent at Essex county college.

This is the story of 20-year-old, 800 and 1500-meter athlete Andrea Foster. Foster is currently pursuing a degree and her career at the Essex County College in New Jersey. She gained a scholarship, after her outstanding performance at the National School Championships. The scholarship is funded by Marian Burnett, one of Guyana’s athletes, who participated in 2004 and 2008 Summer Olympic Games.

Foster just completed her first year at the college as a member of the Running Brave Athletics Club. Even though she has described balancing school and training as “challenging”, her performances do not reflect same. Foster currently has a 3.85 Grade point average (GPA) and even received an Academic Scholar Award for her diligence.

The young lady, during her first year in college was not only able to keep up excellent grades but she also dominated the track. She won several medals and even became the first person in the history of the college to receive the ‘Athletic Female of the year’ award for the region.

Foster also received ‘a most valuable runner’ award. She earned a silver medal at the indoors nationals, bronze medal in the outdoor nationals, a gold and bronze medal at her school’s cross-country competition. She also received an ‘All American Status’ for her outdoor performances.

The twenty-year-old says that if it was not for her mother’s advice and support, she never would have made it to where

from left to right) Mother of Claudrice McKoy Carla Adams, Claudrice McKoy, Director of Sport Christopher Jones, Andrea Foster and mother Alisha Fortune and dedicated coach of both athletes Sham Johnny.

she is today. She is referring to Guyana’s very own sprint champion Alisha Fortune.

Foster explains that, “to keep this up its really my mom, she taught me how to balance track and academics at the same time and I always take the three Ds, dedication, determination and discipline and if not for my coaches pushing me and made sure that at the end of each school session, they had to see your report and know that you are doing good or else you cannot train so they instill that as well”.

While she is overwhelmed by what her daughter has achieved thus far, Fortune said that she never wanted her daughter to think that she has followed in her footstep.

Fortune noted that, “One of the things I did not want to do as a parent was because I am an athlete, I wanted my child to be an athlete, they have to want it and… I really did not want her to feel like I’m living my life through her”.

Foster is back in Guyana at the moment, not only for a vacation but she is also seeking some assistance from the National Sports Commission (NSC). The assistance she is looking for, is in the form of text books that will assist her, in her studies.  The NSC has agreed to give her the support she needs.

Another athlete being sponsored by the NSC is Claudrice McKoy. She recently acquired a full scholarship from the NSC to attend the University of Guyana (UG), after competing in the 2017 Caribbean Free Trade Association (CARIFTA) games. However, instead of attending UG, McKoy will be pursuing her degree in Business Management at the Monroe College in the United States.

Claudrice McKoy (left), Andrea Foster (right) with Director of Sport Christopher Jones (Centre).

McKoy said that she wants to thank God, her mother and coaches of the Running Brave Athletics Club for their support. The young lady who is passionate about athletics noted that academics is just as important and said that she is ready for the task ahead of her.

“I am prepared very much because this year I had CXC and I had to qualify for CARIFTA so it was tough from lessons to training from training to lessons, it was very tough so I had to get that hand in hand, basically I would have to do the same thing”.

American track and field athlete and four-time Olympic gold medalist Jesse Owens once said “One chance is all you need” to succeed.

Both McKoy and Foster got their chance through Scholarships. They shared words of advice for young athletes and their fellow athletes. McKoy said, “you just need to stay focused; you have to believe in yourself and believe in God. As long as you put in the work, you will receive”.

Foster’s advice is that they “remain humble, stay focused and always put God at the centre because he is the main one and you will be successful in whatever you do”.

 

By: Isaiah Braithwaite

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