THE DALTON Grant Academy donated football attire and miniature goals to members of the Moruga Football Club during a media briefing at the King George V Park, St Clair on Saturday.
The 47-year-old Grant, the son of Jamaican parents, was a former Great Britain high jumper who copped gold at the 1994 European Indoor Championships in Paris in France and the 1998 Commonwealth Games in Kuala Lumpur in Malaysia.
He also claimed silver medals at the 1989 European Indoors in The Hague in Netherlands, the 1990 Commonwealth Games in Auckland in New Zealand and the 1998 European Championships in Budapest in Hungary.
Concerning the purpose of the venture, Grant said, “The purpose that we set out a few years ago is just to give opportunities to kids, from the grassroots (upwards).”
About the gears, he noted, “We brought it for Eric (Gibbs) and his team, just to really inspire them, the incentive to actually have a uniform.”
“It’s been great to come back into the Caribbean,” he added.
Grant stated that he has no direct links with the Moruga district but is just continuing the support he has given to the community, via former Member of Parliament for Moruga/Tableland Peter Taylor.
“This is purely between him, the former Minister Peter Taylor,” said Grant. “I used to coach him back in the UK. We formed a relationship and he knew the standards that I achieved and the professionalism that I brought to the sport. I was actually a board director of London 2012.” Taylor noted that he has kept in touch with Moruga, even though he is not the current MP.
“The Dalton Grant Academy was launched in March 2010 at the St Mary’s Government Primary School in Moruga,” he said. “We were friends in London. When I was the MP, we decided that it was an important intervention to make through sports. We formed the Dalton Grant Academy and what we did was really to give a foundation for youths to be able to be exposed to different high-level training. What we are doing now is really a continuation of that.”
Taylor added, “We got assistance from the Ministry of Sport and we’re using that now to really expand the programme. Eric Gibbs is one of the outstanding coaches in the area so we decided to use the Moruga Football Club as the catalyst for that type of development.
“We want people to be able to dream and to dream big, and what better example than to have Olympians, and persons who have actually walked the walk, to be able to give that inspiration. This is just a small gesture.”
Gibbs, coach of the Moruga FC and a teacher at the Moruga RC School, said the gesture by the Academy was “excellent news and it’s the right timing for us because we’re about to restart our programme for 2014. Our association with the Dalton Grant Academy has only helped the club tremendously,” he said. “It has given us that inspiration and courage.”