Fri | Jan 22, 2021

Russell looks forward to Wolmer’s challenge

Published:Wednesday | January 13, 2021 | 12:09 AMRaymond Graham/Gleaner Writer
Russell
Russell

When the 2021 track and field season gets under way, one of the country’s top high-school track and field programmes, Wolmer’s Boys School, will be under the guidance of a new head coach, after Michael Russell was brought in to replace Donald Hawthorne, who was in that position for the past four years.

Russell, who was the man in charge of the Kingston College programme between 2007 and 2013 and who also had a coaching stint at Excelsior High School for the past seven years, told The Gleaner that he is elated about his move to the Heroes Circle-based institution.

“I feel honoured that the people in charge have the confidence that I will help to develop the programme at Wolmer’s in ensuring that they get back to where it used to be,” said Russell during a recent interview.

Despite taking over from the experienced Hawthorne, who was the man behind the success of the likes of Yohan Blake and Nickeal Ashmeade, while he was at St Jago High, where he spent 13 years, Russell says he does not feel any pressure in his new role.

“I have the experience, as proven over the years where Kingston College won Champs under my tenure. I know my capabilities and I am hoping to bring that experience to Wolmer’s, as I love to win, and I will do the job to the best of my capabilities,” continued Russell, who recently had a one year stint in India, where he was in charge of the sprints at the Centre of Excellence in the province of Andhra Prabesh.

LATE START

Russell is only one week into the programme at Wolmer’s, but despite the late start, he does not believe his boys are at a disadvantage ahead of the new season.

“No. It is not about winning Champs now, as, basically, it is about taking care of our seniors who are leaving school, to ensure that they get scholarships to overseas universities, and also to work on the development of the other athletes,” continued Russell.

Russell also refuted rumours that the programme was being run by the MVP Track Club trio of Stephen Francis, Paul Francis and Bruce James.

“I must say that is not true; but yes, support is coming from that group,” said Russell.

Two members from that group, Shanikie Osbourne and Henry Thomas, will be a part of the coaching staff. Osbourne, who also coached at Papine High School in the past, will help with the sprints, while Thomas, who is also a physiotherapist, will help with the middle-distance programme.

Former Jamaica College head coach Orville Brown and Raymond Brown complete the coaching staff, as they will work with the jumpers and throwers, respectively.

sports@gleanerjm.com