Mixed Reaction in Jamaica to Sprinter’s Decision to Study Abroad

Kevona Davis (photo above), the Edwin Allen High School sprint sensation and, by virtue of her enormous talent, a Jamaica “national treasure” has opted to continue her education and track and field career at the University of Texas, which athletes are known as the Texas Longhorns. Davis is hoping to etch her name among those of former Longhorns and US track and field great, Sanya Richards-Ross, US Olympian Bianca Knight, and US 2019 100m Champion Teahna Daniels. All three alumni held Longhorn sprint records.

When news broke in Jamaica that Davis had signed with the Texas Longhorns, callers flooded a local call-in sports program to express their views on her decision.  A few gave her their blessing and wished her well, but for the most part, the majority of callers were adamantly against the decision.

They argued and expressed fear that her great talent will be suppressed and fall by the wayside, so to speak, just as the many talented athletes from Jamaica who made a similar decision to accept overseas scholarships. They cited examples of super-talented Jamaican athletes, who after attending schools overseas failed to make a Jamaica national team or any other. They argued that athletes who made it can be counted on one hand.

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Some pointed out that over the last several years, Edwin Allen High has dominated girls high school track and field in Jamaica and has turned out several top-tier athletes, many of whom accepted scholarships to study overseas. However, only a few, if any, have excelled in the sport beyond their superb high school career. Callers also suggested Davis should attend school in Jamaica because for the last ten years the vast majority of athletes who have represented Jamaica and excelled attended school and trained in Jamaica.

A number of callers were of the view that she should have chosen to become a professional athlete because she is only 18 years old, and even at the end of a pro career she would still have time to further her education.

Based on Davis’s academic achievements in high school (six CSEC subjects and first year in 6th Form), it is clear that education is her top priority. In a recent podcast interview, she cited the history and success of the University of Texas track and field program in helping athletes make the transition into the professional ranks.

One person’s support of Davis’s decision concluded that if she manages to stay healthy and have a good collegiate career, she could enjoy the best of both worlds by getting a degree and returning to Jamaica to join a track and field club as a professional athlete, both while she’s still in the prime of her life.

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