Standing tall: Paul Francis shares his story of courage

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

World Cup 2019: Shikhar Dhawan might take 10-12 days to recover, says Sanjay Bangar

first_imgIndia’s assistant coach Sanjay Bangar said Shikhar Dhawan is being monitored by the team management and he might recover in 10 to 12 days after suffering a thumb injury. Dhawan was hit on the thumbs during his match-winning 117 in India’s second match of the 2019 Cricket World Cup against Australia at The Oval on Sunday.Shikhar Dhawan is certain to miss India’s next few matches against New Zealand (June 13), Pakistan (June 16) and Afghanistan (June 22). However, the Indian team would be hoping for him to return to the playing XI for the match against West Indies on June 27.On Tuesday, the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) said Shikhar Dhawan will be kept under observation and no replacement will be named yet. However, Rishabh Pant has been called into England as cover for Dhawan. Rishabh Pant will reach England on June 14.Bangar said while it was good to have a back-up, the Indian team will provide every assistance to Dhawan to get their star opener back on to the field as soon as possible.”We are monitoring Shikhar Dhawan. He may take 10 to 12 days to recover. We will assist him. Vijay Shankar is one of the options, if and when required. It’s good to have back up. Rishabh Pant will be in Manchester,” Bangar told the media on the eve of India’s third match in World Cup 2019 against New Zealand on Thursday.Team India batting Coach Sanjay Bangar: We’re monitoring Shikhar Dhawan. He may take 10-12 days to recover, we’ll assist him. Vijay Shankar is one of the options, if&when required. It’s good to have back up. Rishabh Pant will be in Manchester. pic.twitter.com/u4LUGsTGinadvertisementANI (@ANI) June 12, 2019With Dhawan ruled out, it KL Rahul looks certain to open with Rohit Sharma. Virat Kohli will bat at No.3 while Vijay Shankar might come in at No.4. MS Dhoni, Kedar Jadhav and Hardik Pandya will make up the remainder of the batting line-up.#WATCH Shikhar Dhawan at India’s practice session at Trent Bridge, Nottingham ahead of their #ICCCricketWorldCup2019 match against New Zealand, tomorrow. He had suffered a fracture on his thumb in India’s match against Australia on 9 June & has been ruled out for at least a week. pic.twitter.com/4PjV3dvH6j ANI (@ANI) June 12, 2019With everything on the Indian team centered on Shikhar Dhawan over the last two days, the man himself looked pretty relaxed when he stepped out to watch a movie with his teammates. In fact, a day later Dhawan even tweeted a few lines from a famous poet to indicate he was ready to fight it out and play again in this World Cup.Also Read | Rishabh Pant to join Team India as cover for injured Shikhar DhawanAlso Read | Shikhar Dhawan tweets lines from Rahat Indori’s poem after thumb injuryAlso Read | India look to equal World Cup record vs New Zealand in Shikhar Dhawan’s absencelast_img read more

Liberals to delay billions in planned infrastructure spending

first_imgOTTAWA – The federal Liberals plan to shift just over $2 billion in planned infrastructure spending to future years, reflecting slower-than-anticipated spending on the file, The Canadian Press has learned.The money won’t come from planned spending in one specific year.Nor will it come from one specific program, but across multiple funds set up by the Liberals and the previous Conservative government, as well as large-scale projects overseen by Infrastructure Canada, such as the Champlain Bridge replacement in Montreal.What the Liberals have found is that they can’t move cash fast enough out of the federal treasury for infrastructure projects around the country.“It is about cash flow management to better meet the (construction) schedules of our partners,” said Brook Simpson, a spokesman for Infrastructure Minister Amarjeet Sohi.The federal government regularly has to carry over, or “re-profile,” infrastructure money from one fiscal year to the next: Spending analyses have shown that about one-quarter of infrastructure funds don’t get spent in the year for which they are budgeted.The reason is that federal dollars only flow once project proponents submit receipts for reimbursement, often leaving a lag between when work takes place and when infrastructure money is actually spent. In some cases, the federal government won’t receive receipts until the end of a project.And projects themselves can be delayed for any number of reasons, such as bad weather or a labour disruption, that are beyond the control of the federal government.Infrastructure Canada’s website shows that as of last Friday, there was about $20.5 billion left unspent across 13 different programs, including two set up by the Liberals.The Liberals promised in the last election to move unspent infrastructure money into the gas tax fund that goes directly to cities for transit, water or roads projects.The government closed out several old infrastructure programs at the end of March, giving the gas tax fund $30.1 million of money which the provinces didn’t earmark for any projects.That won’t happen with the money to be spent in future years because it comes from programs that still have years left before they expire, Simpson said.“Funding is being re-profiled to future fiscal years of programs that are ongoing rather than dormant, be that the New Building Canada Fund, Clean Water and Wastewater Fund, or Public Transit Infrastructure Fund,” he said.“We will continue to work with our partners to move their priorities forward and provide the flexibility necessary to meet their submission of claims.”last_img read more