TEN-YEAR-OLD speedster, Chelcia Joseph, hopes she can join a track and field club in her community of La Brea to nurture her budding, homegrown talent. However, there are no existing athletics clubs in the area, the closest being Point Fortin Jets.
The standard three La Brea RC student proved worthy at her zone’s Primary Schools’ Track and Field Championships by powering to gold in the long jump, 100 metres, 200m and 4x100m relay (with teammates Afiyah Victor, Niesha Cornwall and Malayah Andrews) events.
Joseph’s dominant display played an instrumental role in her school’s recapture of the overall Championship title by tallying 588 points after 58 events. Vance River (578 pts) took runner-up spot while Brighton Anglican (555 pts) placed third.
At the zonal sports on February 14, Joseph led a strong contingent of top finishers ranging from schools such as La Brea RC, Guapo Government, Brighton Anglican, Vance River RC, Delhi Road Hindu and Rousillac Presbyterian and Hindu School.
But, according to Joseph’s standard one teacher, Sharnol Smith-Small, a lot of raw talent from the La Brea district is falling by the wayside due to the non-existence of track and field programmes within the community.
“I would love to see an athletics club in La Brea. Most of the children from our school compete based on their natural ability. They have no formal training. If they are exposed to this type of training they will do wonders. It is sad that it doesn’t have a club in La Brea for athletics,” stated the teacher with over 14 years’ service.
Smith-Small believes an athletics club would be the ideal investment for the people, especially youngsters, of La Brea.
“For many of them here, a club would be excellent to groom hidden talents that we have in the southern part of Trinidad. We have a lot potential here in La Brea and would like more avenues created as platforms for our success. I would love to Chelcia represent TT because she has the ability, potential and the support from her parents,” added the La Brea RC tutor.
After a hectic day of topping every race she entered, the tiny Joseph was still bubbling with energy when receiving her well-earned prizes atop the rostrum. She also remains confident the donation from meet sponsors, National Energy Corporation of TT, LABIDCO, TOFCO and quadruple Olympic medallist, Ato Boldon, of 51 athletic spikes (footwear) would aid her progress as a promising sprinter.
“I feel happy. I love to run and I knew I would have won the races today,” stated the smiling Joseph after collecting her haul of gold medals and the Victrix trophy for her domination of the Under-11 Girls division.
“I would like train hard to become an athlete. I anchored my team to victory in the relay and would like do more as a young runner. School is going ok for me so far and I’m also involved in football at Made in La Brea (community club).”
The budding athlete’s mother, Mitchelle Joseph, who was born in Jamaica, admitted her daughter had the “Jamaican blood in her” to run. She also voiced her concern on the unavailability of athletic clubs within her community.
“Running is in her blood, maybe because I’m a Jamaican,” said Mitchelle. “She’s never trained anywhere before. All she does is run in the yard. I would be very appreciative if she can get into a training club because she has excellent potential. She loves running because she’s rewarded instantly for her efforts. Also, Chelcia has a good balance of her school work and sports.”