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January 20, 2020

Bolt looking forward to JN Heroes Weekend 5K

first_img“Come out and run with me; discover my parish and support a worthy cause.”That’s the message from superstar sprinter Usain Bolt, as the ‘I’s are dotted and the ‘t’s crossed, ahead of the inaugural Jamaica National Building Society (JN) Foundation Heroes in Action 5k Run/Walk, set for Sunday, October 18.Geared towards raising support for the Granville Place of Safety for Girls, the course will take participants through one of the island’s most picturesque corridors – where Georgian artistry meets Caribbean charm, a point that Alfred Francis from race organisers Running Events was quick to underline.However, the opportunity to rub shoulders with one of the most recognisable faces in international sports, Usain Bolt, who was born and raised not too far away in Sherwood Content, will no doubt be a big draw for the road-running community, as well as the casual participant.Bolt told The Sunday Gleaner yesterday that he is looking forward to taking part in the event and encouraged everyone to join him.”I’ll be there, and I can say that I’m really looking forward to this event. I can’t promise that I will do all 5K, but I am ready for any challenge. I do not intend to lose another race before I retire,” he laughed in reference to last week’s ‘made-for-TV’ race with eight-year-old viral video fitness enthusiast DemarJay Smith on the popular Ellen Degeneres Show.”This event is in aid of a worthy cause, one that the Usain Bolt Foundation is honoured to lend its support to,” added the 17-time Olympic and World Champion sprinter.Saffrey Brown, JN Foundation general manager, reiterated the importance of the event and what it means to the future of its charity, the Granville Place of Safety for Girls.”There have been a lot of issues recently about protection for young people, and we really wanted to look at how we could help them get a better sort of start and increase their chances for positive outcome,” Brown said.Use of proceedsShe underlined that proceeds from the run/walk will be used to build a classroom, media library and sewing room for the facility, which caters to at-risk under-aged females.Speaking to the route itself, Francis said that the reception has been positive, while promising an enriching experience for all participants.”I see a lot of emails floating around from running groups planning to take a ride out of town and participate. Of course, we have a concentration of road races in Kingston, but it’s a holiday weekend. A lot of persons want to go out of town, go on the North Coast, and so we are providing something for their palette,” Francis said. “There is no race in Falmouth, so for the people in the town, the schools in and around the area, in Montego Bay, Ocho Rios and so on, we also want them to come out and share.”last_img read more

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January 14, 2020

Learning to Swim Reduces Unintentional Drowning

first_imgLiberia is a coastal country with more than 350 miles of shoreline, dozens of rivers and thousands of streams and lagoons. Monrovia, its capital city, is one of the wettest cities in the world. The country has one of the largest maritime flag registries in the world. Yet, few Liberians know how to swim. As the dry season gets into high gear, more and more people will be heading to various beaches and waterways to spend some downtime. The chances of someone drowning are great, but this can be prevented with the right policies. Matter of fact, which agency of government regulates beaches, lagoons, and swimming pools in the Republic? Of course, a sound system will be a great first step, but the biggest problem is cultural, or is it racial?Many black people seem to fear water, even in the Caribbean that is surrounded by large bodies of water – which lie to the east and northeast. There are a lot of mythologies (i.e. mamie wata) in most ‘African’ cultures that contribute to the high rate of drowning among blacks; however, Liberia is not alone. This aqua-phobia can also be seen here in Nigeria, another coastal country with rich natural water systems, where I now live.Researchers in Canada recently found that “black immigrants are four times more likely not to know how to swim than native-born Canadians.” Moreover, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control says drowning rates among blacks aged 5–19 years are 5.5 times higher than those among whites in the same age range. In the state of Connecticut, two students from Ghana drowned in their high school pool last year, prompting a new state law. It requires all schools to have a trained, dedicated person — either a lifeguard or swim instructor — “to monitor the pool for students who may be struggling in the water.”An earlier study by the CDC showed that nearly 60 percent of black children surveyed were unable to swim or felt uncomfortable in the deep end of a pool, compared to 31 percent of white children.This attitude stems from cultural differences, experts believe. More white families spend recreation time at pools or beaches, and white parents make sure their children learn how to swim than black parents do.Despite ingrained negative cultural beliefs about water, the Liberian government should come up with sound policies to protect people going to rivers and streams this season, like: All public beaches and pools should have trained lifeguards. Encourage people to swim with a companion. Never leave a child near water unattended. Do not trust a child’s life to another child. Make sure everyone learns to swim well. Work with the YMCA/YWCA and Red Cross to develop and offer swimming lessons. Teach children always to ask permission before going near water. Young children or inexperienced swimmers should wear life jackets.But lifeguards are no guarantee of safety, what is needed is a comprehensive cultural shift and education about the health and recreational benefits of swimming. Only this, I am afraid, will reduce the elevated rate of unintentional drowning in Liberia.Wynfred Russell lives in Kano, Nigeria. He can be reached at: wnrussell@hotmail.comShare this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)last_img read more

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