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Old Harbour Primary’s Christopher Scott joins Minister Grange in unveiling Usain Bolt maquette

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Minister of Culture, Gender, Entertainment and Sport, the Honourable Olivia Grange, admires the maquette of the Usain Bolt Statue done by Sculptor Basil Watson (2nd r). Also looking on are Ian Forbes, Board Director of the Sport Development Foundation, Christopher Scott, 2017 Champion boy of the INSPORTS Primary School Athletics Championship, Dennis Gordon, representative of Racers Track Club and President of the JAAA and Dr Warren Blake Minister of Culture, Gender, Entertainment and Sport, the Honourable Olivia Grange, admires the maquette of the Usain Bolt Statue done by Sculptor Basil Watson (2nd r). Also looking on are Ian Forbes, Board Director of the Sport Development Foundation, Christopher Scott, 2017 Champion boy of the INSPORTS Primary School Athletics Championship, Dennis Gordon, representative of Racers Track Club and President of the JAAA and Dr Warren Blake Photo: Contributed

Being part of any occasion involving the iconic Usain Bolt is an opportunity not to be missed.

And so it was for young sprint phenom Christopher Scott, who recently won the sprint double at the state-run Institute of Sports Primary School Athletics Championships.

At short notice, Scott was invited by Sport Minister Olivia Grange to a press briefing at the Spanish Court Hotel in Kingston where a maquette of athletics biggest star was unveiled to the public yesterday.

The 45-minute journey into the country’s capital was worth it though for the 12-year-old Scott, a student of Old Harbour Primary.

Verdayne Smith, physical education teacher and coach, Old Harbour Primary, told Old Harbour News that it was an opportunity the school could not afford to let pass.

“The school is on a transformation programme. We are looking to be the choice school in Old Harbour and sport is one way of showing this to the public.

“Getting this opportunity to come on a national scale, being invited by the Minister to unveil a statue of Usain Bolt, is just another way of announcing himself to Jamaica and to show Old Harbour Primary some more and the talent that is in Old Harbour on a whole,” said Smith.

“This will also build his confidence coming off primary champs. He has been running for some time now but it’s only this year he came to the fore and every opportunity for him is just a blessing.”

In the company of some of the country’s renowned track and field dignitaries, the young sprinter had the honour, alongside the Minister to perform the official unveiling of the mini statue of Bolt, regarded as the greatest sprinter of all time.

The ultimate statue, which will be as tall as the giant frame of the legendary man himself will be mounted at Statue Park at the National Stadium.

Distinguished Jamaican sculptor Basil Watson was commissioned to design and create statues of four of Jamaica’s outstanding sports stars, namely Bolt, Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce, Veronica Campbell-Brown and Asafa Powell.

“The commissioning of the statues is part of the process of memorialising and celebrating the historical, social, symbolic and aesthetic value of Jamaica’s athletic achievement. Importantly, as well, this is about adding economic value to Jamaica’s sport tourism offering,” said Grange, who is also the minister in charge of culture, gender and entertainment.

All four statues will be delivered over two years, the first being the statue of Bolt, which will be ready in August.

“We chose that time for installation to coincide with Usain’s retirement and our nation’s 55th anniversary of Independence,” the Minister explained.

Miss Grange said the exact time of the unveiling would be determined by Bolt’s schedule and the availability of other athletes to attend the ceremony at Statue Road at the National Stadium.

Grange pointed out that along the way in the production process, the athletes had been consulted by the sculptor about the design of their statues.

She said that at each stage, the sculptor had provided a maquette to show a visual representation of the sculpture.

Minister Grange said there would be some adjustments by the sculptor before arriving at the final product but she gave the assurance that, “It would look like Usain Bolt in the end.”

The comments of the Minister will certainly add to the ongoing debate surrounding the quality, or lack thereof, of a sculpted bust representing National Hero Marcus Garvey recently unveiled by the University of the West Indies.

Based on past experience the Minister said presenting a maquette for scrutiny is compulsory as part of any work she has commissioned.

“We know that our athletes — particularly Usain Bolt — will be spoken of and studied by athletes, fans and lovers of sport for generations to come. As with Bob Marley, we anticipate that the people of the world will come to Jamaica to see sights associated with Bolt and our other sports stars and to learn about their history,” Grange said.

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