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Jamaicans O’Hara, Hyde Not Allowed to Compete at Penns
- Updated: 04/18/2015
Jamaicans at the Penn Relays in Philadelphia this weekend, April 23-25, will not see top Jamaican schoolboy sprinters Michael O’Hara of Calabar and Jaheel Hyde (top photo) of Wolmer’s in competition; that’s because according to Jamaica’s high school sports umbrella agency, the Inter-secondary Schools Sports Association (ISSA), the athletes were last week ruled ineligible to compete in the high school section of the relay carnival. Both Champs Class 1 stars were expected to play crucial roles on their high school teams who will compete at Penns.
The young athletes shot themselves in the foot by signing endorsement contracts for rival telecommunications companies Digicel and LIME. A release from ISSA said the Pennsylvania Interscholastic Athletics Association (PIAA), the state High School governing body, which sanctions the Penn Relays High Schools events, had ruled both athletes ineligible as a result of their receiving benefits related to their athletic skills and performances that are not available to all students at their high schools. On that basis, they are not allowed to represent their respective schools at the Relays.
Hyde, who is the defending champion for the high school boys 400m hurdles and who was down to run on Wolmer’s 4x400m team, is a brand ambassador for LIME; O’Hara, Calabar’s triple Champs gold medalist and member of the record-breaking sprint relay squad, has signed with Digicel. He was expected to run the back stretch of the 4x100m for his school.
Additionally, another company had announced earlier this year that it granted O’Hara a J$500,000 scholarship to cover the last two years of his high school education.