Kaliese Spencer said she felt like an “outcast”, while Christine Day spoke of a “break-up” text message. However, as the two athletes broke their silence about their split from the Stephen Francis-led MVP Track Club, it’s clear they have little doubt about the move they have since made. Spencer and Day, who both said they felt they were not getting the desired attention, have also expressed confidence in their move, having swapped the MVP Track Club for Bert Cameron – the 1983 World champion in the 400m – and his Cameron Blazers outfit. The Olympians, who for 10 years were guided by the highly-regarded Francis, yesterday spoke to The Gleaner about the developments, while outlining the circumstances around the break-up that dominated headlines last week. “Maybe I outgrew him (Francis) and I didn’t feel I was needed any longer; let’s put it that way, I was like an outcast really,” said a relaxed-looking Spencer yesterday. “I just needed a different environment to be more relaxed, I was just not comfortable anymore, and I believe this change will work to my advantage,” she added. Spencer, who with 21 wins in the 400m hurdles on the Diamond League circuit, is the most successful track athlete in the history of the series, thanked and credited Francis for her success. “First I must say, it (decision to leave MVP) had nothing to do with Christine (Day). I was there for 10 years and was getting a little uncomfortable, so I came to the conclusion that I was moving to a different stage in my life and it was just time for a change and time to move on,” said Spencer. She also paid a lot of credit to Francis and noted she was expecting to have a meeting with the MVP management team before she left, admitting, however, that she had already decided to leave two days before Francis came on local television and stated that she was no longer a part of the club. Happy with choice Day is happy with her choice to join the Cameron Blazers and thanked Francis for his contribution to her development. “Honestly, I am not disappointed and I am looking forward to the future,” she said. “I thank Mr Francis for all the years he coached me, but I am now looking to the future,” added Day, who ran a personal best 50.14 seconds for fourth place at the recently concluded World Championships in Beijing, China, in August. Cameron, who is working alongside administrator Marvin Anderson to continue the club’s improvements, added that he is looking forward to the experience and challenge in working with the two athletes. He believes that together, they will be able to meet their objectives. Day and Spencer are expected to join their Cameron Blazers teammates, including Leford Green, Jaheel Hyde and Martin Manley. Prayed before decision “This is something I prayed about before I even made my choice,” added Spencer, the 2014 Commonwealth Games champion and World Indoor Championships 400m silver medal winner. She also explained her reasons behind choosing to work with Cameron. “I just thought that he was a very kind person. He has a great personality, always encouraging us, even though we were not a part of his club. He always motivated us and that really helped in my decision. Of course, he also did the 400m, is an Olympian and World champion, so that was a great part,” admitted Spencer. “I have seen how he (Cameron) works with his athletes and the attention he gives them, and I know I will improve,” Day chipped in. Day also shared that she was actually told by Francis via text message after this summer’s IAAF World Championships in Athletics in Beijing, China, that he would not be able to train her anymore. The Commonwealth Games bronze medal winner informed The Gleaner that this came after a conversation she had with the coach after her win at the National Senior Championships in June, which led to a disagreement and strained relations between the two. “It wasn’t concrete and he gave it a few days to think about it and I had to prove to him that I could be the same person I was when I just stepped into UTech,” she explained. “We were supposed to have another meeting, but we didn’t; he sent a text message to say he did not change his mind,” Day recounted.
Chinese Ambassador to Liberia, Zhang Yue has challenged the Government and people of Liberia to take responsibility for the destiny of the country, adding, “The destiny of a nation should and can only dwell on the shoulder of the nation itself, big or small.”In his speech marking the handover of the newly constructed Monrovia Vocational Training Center (MVTC), Ambassador Zhang emphasized that hard work, perseverance, strong leadership; right policies and unity are some of the defining factors behind success.He said it is from such experience that China has become great as it is in the world. According to Ambassador Zhang, both China and Liberia are developing countries facing similar development challenges which he said compel them to consider development as a top priority for which they must engage in mutually beneficial cooperation.The construction of the MVTC is one of China’s promised development projects to Liberia.The Chinese Ambassador expressed the hope that young Liberians will shoulder the responsibility to make better use of the facility to acquire knowledge that will help build their country.“I wish you can take this precious opportunity of getting access to modern training facilities in the new MVTC and devote yourselves to the development of Liberia,” Ambassador Zhang urged the youth.He reiterated China’s commitment to reliable partnership with Liberia, noting that it is not only in training and education, but also in all fields that could benefit Liberians.“Each generation has its own mission and it is our generation’s responsibility to further promote China-Liberia cooperation and inject new vigor into the comprehensive cooperative relationship between our two countries,” he emphasized.He urged Liberians to engage in team work, expressing China’s readiness to dedicate itself to work with Liberia.The MVTC, Ambassador Zhang said, is equipped with sufficient modern facilities to meet the learning needs of young Liberians.With a budget of roughly US$9 million, MVTC’s entire campus is composed of a large teaching, laboratory, and administrative building, and two dormitory buildings for faculty and students respectively.It is also composed of a library that can accommodate 300 people with energy and water supply systems that can serve the entire facility.It also has special facilities that will cater to the needs of the disables people and a sewage disposal system for environmental protection. The new facilities were constructed by the Shanxi Construction Company.In her words of appreciation to the Chinese Government, President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf described the project as a “long awaited” one to get young Liberians to take charge and contribute to the development of their country.The President told Liberians that “the facility is ours, and so its operation and maintenance rest upon us.”She said poor maintenance and destruction of facilities have made it difficult for the country’s infrastructure to be maintained, expressing the hope that other government functionaries including the Legislature will cooperate in making the facility useful.She then commended the Chinese Government for the project and reiterated her call for the completion of the rest that include the ministerial complex and the refurbishing of the Samuel Kanyon Doe Sports Complex.Earlier, Youth and Sports Minister, Eugene Nagbe, said the completion of the project brings to realization President Sirleaf’s mandate to officials that they should not only break ground for a project, but the project should be fully implemented.He said considering that a greater portion of Liberia’s population is youth, the vocational training center was important to the Training Vocational Education and Training (TVET) program in meeting the skills needs of many young Liberians.The center, Minister Nagbe said, will teach electricity, plumbing, welding, masonry, carpentry, and other skills to prepare Liberians yearning for skills to make them productive in society.Meanwhile, the MVTC is a part of many projects the Chinese Government has completed and dedicated to the Liberian Government in aid. Others are the Jackson F. Doe Memorial Hospital in Nimba County and the Fendall campus of the University of Liberia.Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)