For many of the youth living in and around Upton District, St Ann, the Sandals Golf and Country Club provides a playground of opportunity with its junior golf programme. Catering to children as young as five years, the long-running golf project, part of the community outreach for the hotel resort chain, is enabling talent for the sport and bigger things. “It teaches them golf and life skills,” Miguel Arthurs, general manager, Sandals Golf and Country Club, explained. “Discipline, sportsmanship, honesty, provides tutors for academics, mentors,” he continued, outlining benefits of the programme that is coordinated from 8:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. on Saturdays. Through training, the participants develop their game to a high standard, with many moving on to represent both Jamaica’s junior and senior golf teams. In fact, the current Caribbean Amateur Golf Championship winner, Romaine Evans, developed in the programme, as well as Wesley Brown, who has graduated onto the United States Professional circuit. It even provides opportunities for a higher education, through golfing scholarships. “We’ve people who joined the programme not thinking they’d have gone on to college,” exclaimed Arthurs. “It’s opening doors where they didn’t exist. “That’s teaching a man how to fish,” he continued. “In a word, that sort of experience is priceless.” The programme is funded by the Sandals Foundation, plus proceeds from events such as the recent series of Travel Industry Golf competitions, which culminated with the 21st staging of the Baxter’s Golf Tournament. During these events there are contests such as the Closest to the Pin, Longest Drive and Putting and Chipping. Participants pay to enter and those monies are funnelled into the golf club’s junior programme. “It’s the only way to secure the program and continue the development of the youth,” said Arthurs. Expanding on the positives, he pointed to tournaments held at the club that involve members of the programme and noted the effect it had in bringing out family and friends. “Families, friends come out to the tournaments, so you’re creating a ripple effect … That’s where you’re making a real change, when you can change the psyche (mindset) of a person that is priceless. That person can change the thought process of others as well,” Arthurs reasoned. “It’s a game of discipline and sportsmanship … and you’re seeing tangible results. If you’re not seeing tangible change then it’s pointless. There’s the community effect and it’s building families,” he added. “The junior golf program has rekindled my faith about what is possible when you invest in young people.”
Three young players were also hurt during the fire, including one with burns on more than 30 percent of his body.Preliminary investigations, reported by local media, suggest the fire could have been caused by a short circuit in the air conditioning in the prefabricated building housing the players.The fire brigade said in a statement that the training center “was in the process of being brought into line with (fire) regulations” and that it did not yet have their certificate of approval.Of the 10 teenagers who died, only three were from the state of Rio de Janeiro, where the Ninho de Urubu (the Nest of the Vulture after the club’s nickname) training centre is located. Four were from neighboring states, two from Santa Catarina to the south and one from Sergipe in the north.Two were goalkeepers, including 15-year-old Christian Esmerio who had been in the national under-15 and under-17 squads. Photos on social media show him with Brazil manager Tite.Four were defenders including Pablo Henrique da Silva Matos, 14, who was the cousin of Werley, a veteran center back at another Rio club Vasco da Gama, who identified the body.The other four were a midfielder and three forwards.0Shares0000(Visited 1 times, 1 visits today) 0Shares0000The 10 victims of the fire at the Flamengo training center caught were all teenagers © AGIF/AFP / Thiago RIBEIRORIO DE JANEIRO, Brazil, Feb 9 – The bodies of the 10 victims of a fire that ravaged accommodation for youth players at Rio club Flamengo have been identified, Brazilian media reported on Saturday, saying all were between 14 and 17.The fire struck early on Friday. Initially the authorities thought the victims included members of staff, but on Saturday several Brazilian newspapers ran photos of the dead youngsters, smiling, proudly sporting the club’s red and black jersey or holding trophies.