THE TOBAGO athletics fraternity is set to welcome a new club into its membership.
Sonics Sports and Fitness Club, based at Jubilee Park in Scarborough, will increase the number of active athletic organisations on the island to 11.
The 21-year-old James Michael Walters, who conceptualised the club, said he always had a passion to become a track and field coach. The loss of his job in October 2020, due to the covid19 pandemic, provided the perfect opportunity for him to start.
Walters indicated that, while the pandemic has proven to be a barrier to some parents sending their children to train, the club currently has 12 athletes, between 17 and 20.
Based on his experience as a middle-distance athlete, Walters said his intention is to create a space where youths can feel comfortable.
He also said athletics has nurtured his discipline, and it is an avenue where he can give back to society.
Walters has received mixed reactions for his vision. While support has generally been positive, he said that there are people who criticise him because of his age and inexperience as a coach.
He said he understands his journey as a coach will be a tough one, but he is committed to achieving his goals of being a full-time coach and producing world-class athletes.
He said his pathway was made easier by the strong support of Renesha Jones, a sports development officer, who has been a positive influence and a fixture at his training sessions.
While he is not yet ready to hang up his spikes, Walters is currently finalising the registration process for membership with the National Association of Athletics Administration (NAAA).
Garth Nichols, secretary of the Tobago Athletic Committee, said additional clubs will mean more exposure and opportunities for the budding track and field stars in Tobago.
The NAAA general secretary said three clubs from Trinidad – Mountain Eagles, Lighting Speed and Phoenix Athletics – had joined the association during the past two years.
Kaizen Panthers, Falcons, Mercury, Zenith, Tobago Select, RSS Phoenix, Jaguars, Jubilee Stars, Protons and Mason Hall Police Youth Club are the Tobago athletic clubs currently registered with the NAAA.