October 2013 Volume 10

Na Start, Vnimanie, Marsh!- on your mark, get set, go!

Kadeem Sommerville
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Being a proud past student of Kingston College, I am more than aware of the Track & Field Championship experience. Witnessing numerous Boys & Girls Championships from the days when Leford "Blacks" Green lit up the track to the more recent times of Hansle "Parchi" Parchment and seeing them now representing Jamaica and our alma mater well was another proud Fortis moment that could not be missed.

After being awarded a scholarship to come here to Russia to fulfill what could be said is the true extension of my personality, in becoming a Medical Doctor, I was first faced with three things: an extremely expensive living environment, the feeling of being completely oblivious as to what is being said around me and lastly the COLD. But never the less, coming this far really doesn't give you another alternative but to be focused. And so I was. Ending my first year of studies here successfully, being placed second in my group to another Jamaican, was to me a great accomplishment as we were studying with a few students who already were quite comfortable with the Russian Language.

Alongside my academic prowess, I along with the other Jamaicans was quite participative in various events, fulfilling our duties as ambassadors through pageants, dance and sport. And believe me; I don't think there is a thing loved by Russians more than Jamaican dance and music. It was based on this that we were as a group selected to host the "Jamaica House" for the World Championships here in Moscow.

Being already well acquainted with the attitude of Russians to Jamaicans we were already expecting a certain treatment once we put on our national colours but because of the world championships adoration was amplified ten folds. I remember an incident where we visited the Luzhniki Sports Complex, the main venue of the Championships and on leaving we were greeted by a mob of Jamaican supporters asking for autographs. Realizing that we weren't athletes, they were still adamant to take photos with us, just to update their V-Contact, Instagram and Facebook accounts the next day to boast their new Jamaican "friends". On other occasions we were greeted with similar situations but the highlight my championship experience here was the "Jamaica House".

Radio City, a small hotel located at Subway station Mayakovskaya, the environment initially seemed quite calm and relaxing but each evening at about 4 pm Moscow time, the mood would transform completely to an electrifying stage of music and dance. Each evening watching the various events together, experiencing the silence of anxiety at the beginning of each race, the screams of "davai - come on!" during the races and the explosions of emotions at the end. Whether it had been moans of despair due to unfortunate falters or screams and chants after each victory, the temperature was always high.

Periodical dance performances and continuous music by the PFUR Dancers and the HYPER ACTIVE family; all students here helped to keep the patrons excited. This excitement was only to be calmed each day by the array of tantalizing Jamaican dishes prepared for dinner by Master Chef George Llewellyn. This brought me to the realization that the only thing that Russians love more than Jamaican dance and music might just be our food. Kudos to the chef. Around dinnertime we would have Mixology Master Classes by the Appleton brand ambassador here, Sergey Bulaktin, introducing patrons to new interesting Appleton cocktails and definitely putting on a show with it.

In spite of the constant excitement, as expected, the true highlights of the week were safely the six gold medals of our "King and Queen of Champs" Usain and Shelly. Both through their own means stole the hearts of the world. Usain with his charisma and endless fountain of confidence and Shelly with her intensity and childlike innocence left us all, Jamaicans and Russian with our tongues stained with their names from heavy discussion.

On the last day, the PFUR dancers decided to relax things a little and pay tribute to our beloved island by performing their own rendition of the National Pledge. A performance well received as the words being already translated to Russian were seen as quite powerful and touching. But at the end of it all, we could not have completed a successful week of events without an "After Champs Party". Ending the whole experience on a high, liming with athletes, coaches, members of government and fellow supporters and showing then that despite the 7000km, we still have not forgotten or Jamaicaness.

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