An Officer and now some gentlemen
STGC long jumper happy with growth of team since COVID-19
IN 2021, St George’s College had just one entry at the GraceKennedy Boys’ and Girls’ Athletics Championships (Champs) in Amari Officer and he put seven big points on the board. The St George’s team has grown since those COVID-19-ravaged days, and...
IN 2021, St George’s College had just one entry at the GraceKennedy Boys’ and Girls’ Athletics Championships (Champs) in Amari Officer and he put seven big points on the board.
The St George’s team has grown since those COVID-19-ravaged days, and Officer, the 2021 Class Two long jump runner-up, is pleased about it.
The sixth former opened his 2023 season with a personal best in the 100 metres, 11.01 seconds, at the ONDIRUN Sprint Fest last Friday. He believes that his run at the GC Foster College for Physical Education and Sport will rev up his runway speed in the long jump.
“Coach is giving me some very unorthodox training styles, so hopefully, this year is one to remember,” he said in reference to a coaching panel that includes renowned jumps expert Gavin James and former Champs triple jump record holder Wilbert Walker.
Officer made this observation not long after alighting from a full St George’s team bus on Saturday at the Central Hurdles and Relays meet, which was also held at GC Foster. He is happy to have the company of many teammates.
“I’m just grateful for the support and the building of the team,” he said with genuine glee.
He was among 10 boys to compete for the school at Champs in 2022.
Officer isn’t just a jumper. In the throes of the COVID-19 pandemic, he was a recipient of a 2021 scholarship paid for by the Mayberry Foundation. One of his prizes was a laptop to help him to prepare for and sit his online exams. He is now reading for examinations in communication studies, physics, chemistry and biology and may become a doctor.
Asked about possible career choices, Officer responded, “Hopefully, to study medicine, if I get a scholarship, but anything scientifically related, I’m okay with it.”
His track and field career started casually. “Honestly, it was a friend who just said to come training one day, in like grade 4, and since then, I’ve been doing track and field,” he recounted.
Reminded of his school’s brilliant football history, the 17-year-old continued, “Football just isn’t my thing but track and field since first form, my coach, gone now, he got me into it, Jerome Myers, and since then I’ve just gotten into it.”
He admires 2019 world champion Tajay Gayle and his Cuban rival Juan Echevarria, but he sometimes delves into history.
“Now and then I go back and look at Bob Beamon and some of the older athletes,” he said.
Beamon won the 1968 Olympic gold medal with a distance of 8.90 metres that stood as a world record until 1991.
Officer’s best distance is a wind-aided leap of 7.16 metres that got him the 2021 silver.
His reaction to his Sprint Fest 100 was measured.
“I didn’t execute the race as I wanted to, but we’re getting there.”
He sampled Class One competition last year, and the Georgian is aiming to improve when Champs comes around in March.
“Honestly, the main focus is just really, like, for Champs and then look forward after that.”