The flurry of Western student athletes leaving the comforts of home continues with jumper, Lamara Distin, the latest name to be added to the growing list.
Nineteen-year-old Distin, who started out participating in sporting events while at Corinaldi Avenue Primary, is jetting off to Texas A and M University, in Texas, USA, where she has inked a 4-year scholarship which will see her majoring in Sports Management and Business.
Distin, who describes herself as jovial, but very shy, revealed that a number of other high-profiled universities, with lots of Jamaican acquaintances, courted her – namely Louisiana State, Florida State, the University of Texas, IOWA and Oklohoma, among others, but disclosed that she chose Texas A and M because of its rich history.
“It (Texas A and M) is well-known for its academics and prestigious programmes,” she noted, it has a great environment. “It’s a beautiful place and has my major, something many of the others don’t, so my choice was pretty simple.”
“They may not have the best jump programmes, but I know with the help of coaches and my drive and passion to excel, I will do well and make my mark,” she added.
Distin, who’s a firm believer in the works of the Almighty, says she is confident all will go well as “with God, all things are possible”.
The university is among the ten largest in the US and Distin is looking forward to making her mark and leaving a legacy where so many other Jamaican athletes have gone and excelled.
The soft-spoken, Distin who hails from the quiet parish of Hanover, told the Western Mirror she was born at the now crippled Cornwall Regional Hospital, but spent her early years in Hopewell.
Much-travelled for her years, Distin has been to three high schools since departing Corinaldi.
She spent three years at Rusea’s High in Hanover, before leaving for Vere Technical where she did another two, and then the final stop at Hydel, where she says she has “gained a wealth of valuable knowledge and experience that will take her through a lifetime”.
The lanky athlete, who declared sports has always been a passion of hers from an early age, has gained several spots on National Youth teams, gained her first call at the national level, at age 14 when she travelled to the CARIFTA GAMES held in Martinique.
There, Distin opened her National youth medal count winning the team’s first gold medal. She has won an overall four between 2015 and 2018.
She has also represented the country at the World Under-20, where she was ranked amongst the 12 best in the world.
The Pan American Junior Under-20 Games in Costa Rica was another of her tournaments last year where she bagged a silver medal.
She has also won several medals at the ISSA Boys’ and Girls’ Athletics Championships held annually at the National Stadium and capped last year, her final appearance, with a record performance in the High Jump, clearing the bar at 1.87 metres.
She was also first in the Triple Jump, cutting the sand at 13.37 metres.
A stand-out amongst her peers largely because of her height, Distin says making National teams over the years has impacted her life, exposing her to the outer world and allowing her to compete with the best in the world.
“My best year so far was my final at high school where I left a mark. Why am I so satisfied with it? I broke a record and it’s always something I wanted to do at Champs – break a record.”
Distin, who is scheduled to leave the island in early August, is the latest set to depart for an overseas scholarship.
Just last week, news came that Leacroft Lettman, formerly of Cornwall College and St. George’s College, is also down for departure, after he signed a 4-year academic and soccer gold scholarship with Maine University.
Lettman, also 19, will carry out studies in attaining a Bachelors of Science in Nursing.