With school sports returning to normal, discussions surrounding international students competing in Jamaica have also resurfaced.
Joining this discussion are Aryamanya ‘Ari’ Rodgers of Kingston College and Delano Williams of Munro College, who became household names due to their outstanding athletic performances while attending school in Jamaica.
Rodgers, who came to Jamaica from Uganda in 2016, and Williams, who came from the Turks and Caicos Islands in 2008, said their experience in Jamaica should be credited for their development.
“Going to school and playing sports in Jamaica has helped me build and have organized sport participation. It has also helped in the development of physical skills such as hand-eye coordination, functional movement skills and strength, and, academically, general life skills, positive social benefits, leading to both better social identity and social adjustment,” Rodgers said. the gleaner. “(Plus) the amazing exposure around the world was amazing. It gave me the opportunity to get a college scholarship to further my education as well as my personal development.
“Playing sports in Jamaica has been a huge help to me as Munro College is an all boys institution which has instilled values and goals in me and definitely helped me grow into the young man that I am today. I had my eight CXCs there and my four CAPE 1 and 2 units,” Williams said. The Gleaner.
Both claimed individual men’s championship titles and said that if they had stayed in their home country they would not have been exposed to the opportunities offered by Jamaica.
“Life would have been different if I had stayed in Uganda because Uganda is an underdeveloped country compared to Jamaica and on top of that there is a lot of competition. I’m talking about a population of over 45 million people. As you know, God is above everything, you would never know how I would be because he was the one who endowed me with talent,” said Rodgers, the Champs boys 2000 meter steeplechase record holder.
“We in Turks and Caicos don’t have what Jamaica has,” Williams said.
“The sports fraternity in Jamaica is great and it’s great at the level where you build elite athletes. The programs they have are so much better organized than in my country because we don’t really focus on sports and that we’re not putting money into the sport like in Jamaica and I feel like that’s where we need to grow,” said the 2012 World Junior 200 meters champion.
“If I had stayed in the Turks and Caicos Islands, I probably would have been a police officer or a firefighter or something like that,” Williams, 28, added.
Both athletes said Jamaica’s sporting culture and structure makes the island ideal for the sporting development of young athletes and as such they would recommend other international student-athletes to come to Jamaica for their development.
“Jamaican sports culture is totally different from Ugandan culture. I remember my first time in Champs, I was flabbergasted. It was an amazing feeling, seeing KC fans and my fans all over the country chanting my name, wearing shirts with my pictures on them and waving my country’s flag, unlike back home where you can’t find such atmosphere,” Rodgers, who also helped KC win the Manning Cup title in 2018 after a 31-year drought, said. “There are more exposure opportunities than at home (because) the Jamaican sports culture is so welcoming and motivating; (and) Jamaicans make you feel at home.
Williams praised the local coaches.
“The coaches are brilliant, they know what they’re doing, especially from the high school level, I have to give credit to the champions who helped me get on the world stage. If you’re in the top eight at the Champs, then you are (among) the best in the world and it has helped me to be a junior world champion, a multiple medalist at the Carifta Games, to win many medals for my country, and I feel like it will bring those glorious moments to d ‘other Caribbean countries,’ said Williams, who won senior medals such as a bronze medal in the 200 meters at the European Athletics Championships.
Both said they continue to build on what they received from competing and studying in Jamaica.
Rodgers is now at New Mexico Highlands University pursuing a bachelor’s degree in business administration.
Williams, who was still training in Jamaica until this year, said he would return to the Turks and Caicos Islands to take up a position with the Sports Commission. And, although he has not finalized his retirement, he plans to become a coach to help develop the sport on his island after recently receiving his certifications to be a running and strength and conditioning coach.