Standing tall: Paul Francis shares his story of courage

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first_imgDania Bogle, Senior Gleaner Writer FANS OF athletics may have heard the name Paul Francis as the master strategist behind Jamaica’s gold medal in the women’s 4x400m at the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) World Championships in Beijing, last August. Others know him as the younger brother of MVP Track and Field Club head coach, Stephen Francis and one of the club’s founders. Athletes at the University of Technology (UTech) know Francis as head coach of the women’s track team and for four years between 2010 and 2014 their classmate. Francis was 44 years old when he decided to go back to university. He had started in the 1980s at the University of the West Indies and dropped out after a year. He was accepted to do a degree in Business Administration at UTech in 2005 and opted out; but on February 2, 2010, what started out as a minor car accident, would change Francis’ life forever. While travelling on Highway 2000, he had a minor accident and when he left the vehicle to inspect the damage, was hit by a passing car which crushed his right leg. That exacerbated an injury Francis had suffered in 2008. “One day after training, I was fooling around on the track with a football and twisted my ankle and it just …broke. So I was walking around with a noticeable limp from two years before,” Francis told The Gleaner. After three weeks in hospital he was told his leg had developed an infection, and would have to be amputated. Jamaica Athletics Administrative Association president, Dr Warren Blake, one of the island’s most noted orthopaedic surgeons, conducted the operation. “Of course, I would have felt a deep remorse on hearing that I would have had to lose half of one of my legs and like any normal human being, I buss a bawl,” he shared. NO LOOKING BACK “After that bawl, never again have I looked back and regretted or thought that I am disadvantaged because I have a disability.” Francis, an IAAF Level IV certified sprint and hurdles coach, and Area Technical Official, was fitted with a prosthetic leg that August. The amputation made him reevaluate his position. “I did not see myself being able to demonstrate a high knee drill or a start to any athlete, and I thought that would somehow reduce my premium as a coach, and I thought it would be an excellent idea to ensure I try to expand my knowledge in terms of the administration of the sport because sport is my passion. I didn’t want to be somebody who had to sit down and rely on people,” he said. In 2010, a long-time dream of local track and field icon Dennis Johnson, who was for many years head of sports at UTech, the Bachelor of Science in Sport Science would come to fruition. “So as soon as I heard it was on, I jumped at it,” Francis, who turns 50 in April, said. There were days when Francis, who graduated with a degree in Sports Management, would go to classes on crutches as his prosthetic limb caused soreness. “Each day, I got a little stronger in terms of how to manage my own body. I had years of coaching experience and every sporting event doesn’t need only players, but it also needs strategists who are going to guide or coach the team. So oftentimes I played that role but at no point did I refuse myself from any practical activity because of my disability. I took part in every one of them,” he said. Being a full-time coach and student can be difficult, but Francis said difficulty is relative. “I thought I was blessed. It was simply a thing of managing your time. I have always considered myself a realist. In most situations I prefer to see a bottle as half full rather than half empty, and one of my most dominant philosophies is that no matter how bad a situation you think you are in there are many who are worse and they have survived it, therefore you can too.” Francis works very closely with his brother, and while he is the more celebrated, has nothing but great love and respect for the job his brother is doing. FIRST ATHLETE He was Stephen’s first athlete as he coached him in the discus while he was at Wolmer’s. “I have zero reservation about the kudos and recognition Stephen gets. I am his biggest admirer. He is bright. He is working at his passion and he uses all his available resources to ensure that he keeps improving at what he does. I feel a bit ashamed sometimes when people big me up because I think that he deserves most or all of the praise,” he said. Since graduating, Francis has started his own events planning business and is enthusiastic about his future. “You can either choose to lie down and die or you can choose to get up and live. I chose to live,” he said.last_img read more


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first_imgBrentford have rejected an offer from Middlesbrough for Jota. Boro offered £4.5m plus add-ons for the Spanish playmaker, who has attracted interest from several clubs.Jokanovic wants FlintEmbed from Getty ImagesSlavisa Jokanovic wants Fulham to complete a deal to sign Bristol City centre-back Aden Flint.Head coach Jokanovic is hoping to add Flint, 27, to his squad but the Whites hierarchy are less keen, having brought in Marcelo Djalo and Tomas Kalas on loan.Jokanovic also likes Watford’s Craig Cathcart and Grant Hanley of Newcastle.However, as in the case of Flint, Fulham’s statistical analysis team are unconvinced they would be good acquisitions.Meanwhile, Middlesbrough have enquired about Tim Ream but Fulham want the United States international to stay.Perch injury woeEmbed from Getty ImagesJames Perch faces several months on the sidelines with a knee injury he sustained at the weekend.The QPR defender refused to come off during the final stages of Saturday’s home win against Hull City.It has since been ascertained that he suffered a dislocated knee cap.El Khayati goes and JET could followNasser El Khayati has left QPR and the club are also looking to get rid of Jay Emmanuel-Thomas.El Khayati’s contract has been terminated by mutual consent – 18 months after his move from Burton.He made 25 appearances for the R’s, scoring one goal, and ended last season in his native Netherlands, on loan at ADO Den Haag.Emmanuel-Thomas, who joined QPR in 2015, spent last season on loan at Gillingham and has long been out of favour at Loftus Road.Holloway stands by changesQPR manager Ian Holloway stood by his decision to make 10 changes for his side’s Carabao Cup defeat at home to Brentford.Rangers were thrashed 4-1 by their west London neighbours, but Holloway insisted he had no regrets about his team selection.He said: “I stand by that. I wanted the ones who haven’t played to show me what it’s about and were they ready to take on Brentford.“It didn’t look like it. But there were a lot of positives for me and I would still make the same decision because the league campaign is absolutely vital for us.“It was always going to be the right thing to do from my point of view. I’ve got to look past the score, past the criticism and look past who it’s against.“The score doesn’t feel very nice because they’re from over the road.”Ouseph winsHounslow’s Rajiv Ouseph moved into the third round of the badminton World Championships with a 22-20, 21-9 victory over world number 29 Sameer Verma in Glasgow.The reigning European champion and tournament 16th seed had defeated outsider Adam Mendrek in the first round but this looked, on paper, a tougher test.It proved so in a nip and tuck first game, in which the lead changed hands several times, but Ouseph shaded it. Follow West London Sport on TwitterFind us on Facebooklast_img read more


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first_img30 April 2012Nelson Mandela turns 94 on 18 July. A new project aims to honour the great man, and help realise his long-held dream of a proper education for every South African child, by coming to the aid of 94 schools in dire need of new or radically upgraded infrastructure.The 94+ Schools Infrastructure Project was launched last week by the Department of Basic Education in partnership with the Nelson Mandela Centre of Memory and Brand South Africa.It will form part of Mandela Day, which is marked across the world on 18 July each year to inspire people to take action to change the world for the better and, in doing so, to build a global movement for good.Mobilising resources and supportThe project aims to mobilise resources and support from various sectors of society to tackle the huge infrastructure backlog facing schools that serve South Africa’s poorer children.“President Mandela forged invaluable partnerships with the private sector towards the building of schools, particularly in poor communities across South Africa – an initiative that the education sector can build on,” the department said in a statement last week.Interested organisations are invited to pledge their support for the project by e-mailing taylor.l@dbe.gov.za.“The 94 Schools Project originates in the former President’s strong view on the importance of education, and his world-acclaimed efforts to build an equitable system of education in South Africa,” Basic Education Minister Angie Motshekga said at the launch in Johannesburg.Progress, but still huge shortfallsSouth Africa has made considerable progress in improving school infrastructure over the last decade. Since 2000, according to the department, 1 206 schools and a further 38 664 classrooms have been built, while 5 214 schools have been equipped with running water and 2 847 schools given electricity.Massive shortfalls remain, however, with the department estimating that R66-billion is needed to bring all schools in the country to a level of optimal functionality.At the current rate of resource allocation, it will take the department 30 years to clear this backlog.‘Innovation, partnerships needed’Brand South Africa CEO Miller Matola, also speaking at the launch, said the project was a call to government, business and civil society to get involved in transforming education in the country.“We have to find new ways to build human capital in our country,” Matola said. “Our approach requires innovation and partnerships to deal with the challenges.”Basic education director-general Bobby Soobrayan said that with the project, the department aimed to create an environment that was conducive to quality teaching, learning and improved performance in the targeted schools.“Public-private partnerships are one of the most effective ways to meet infrastructure backlogs,” Soobrayan said.SAinfo reporterlast_img read more


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first_imgLATEST STORIES “It’s like my world was turned upside down,” Abueva said in Filipino.Abueva was initially dropped from consideration by national team coach Chot Reyes after missing the first three team practices to start the year.FEATURED STORIESSPORTSWATCH: Drones light up sky in final leg of SEA Games torch runSPORTSLillard, Anthony lead Blazers over ThunderSPORTSMalditas save PH from shutoutDealing with personal matters that also affected his performance in Alaska, Abueva vowed to make up for his shortcomings and has since appeared in every practice in preparation for Gilas Pilipinas’ campaign in the second window of the 2019 Fiba World Cup Asian qualifiers.READ: Gilas facing same old problems ahead of Australia clash Brace for potentially devastating typhoon approaching PH – NDRRMC Globe Business launches leading cloud-enabled and hardware-agnostic conferencing platform in PH View comments Calvin Abueva. Tristan Tamayo/INQUIRER.netSecond chances don’t come too often.And that’s the reason why Calvin Abueva is just in cloud nine after being named as a part of the 14-man Gilas Pilipinas pool against Australia on February 22.ADVERTISEMENT 2 ‘newbie’ drug pushers fall in Lucena sting Abueva’s hard work was greatly appreciated by Reyes making it no surprise that he got himself back into consideration and a chance to make it to the final lineup for the duel against the Boomers at Margaret Court Arena in Melbourne.“I’m just glad that I’m given this opportunity again. I accepted coach Chot’s decision before, but with this, I’m really happy,” he said. “I promise that whatever I’m showing in my game, they can expect the same, or even more.”With him back in the pool, Abueva’s only concern is whether he’d get the go-signal to switch his jersey number from 8 to his 88.“I hope they allow me to change it,” he said.ADVERTISEMENT Read Next John Lloyd Cruz a dashing guest at Vhong Navarro’s weddingcenter_img MOST READ Team LeBron tops Team Stephen in thrilling All-Star Game Slow and steady hope for near-extinct Bangladesh tortoises Typhoon Kammuri accelerates, gains strength en route to PH Don’t miss out on the latest news and information. Trending Articles PLAY LIST 00:50Trending Articles00:50Trending Articles00:50Trending Articles01:29Police teams find crossbows, bows in HK university01:35Panelo suggests discounted SEA Games tickets for students02:49Robredo: True leaders perform well despite having ‘uninspiring’ boss02:42PH underwater hockey team aims to make waves in SEA Games01:44Philippines marks anniversary of massacre with calls for justice01:19Fire erupts in Barangay Tatalon in Quezon City AFP official booed out of forum NEXT BLOCK ASIA 2.0 introduces GURUS AWARDS to recognize and reward industry influencerslast_img read more