Kaina Fast Tracks to Full Scholarship at Texas A&M
In another first, a Belizean track athlete just signed a letter of intent for a full athletic scholarship at a major US university.
Top sprinter Kaina Martinez has been snapped up by the major Texas university under a full scholarship agreement, beginning a whole new phase of an already exciting career.
The 26 year old from the small coastal village of Seine Bight ran the 100 for Belize in the 2012 London Olympics and has previously medalled in the Central American Games and for some time has been the “athlete to watch” in Belize.
And don’t let the “Fast Tracks” in our headline fool you into thinking that her accomplishment isn’t the result of hard work, many hours of training, and determination. Texas A&M is a big school in a populous, highly competitive nation and doesn’t hand out scholarships easily.
Her former coach, Colin Thurton, explained, “I was fortunate enough to have the chance to coach Kaina for the 2012 Olympic Games… I knew the talent that she has and I promised her that I’ll do my best to try and get her a scholarship to finished up her two years in the States. I finally got Texas A&M in Kingsville to offer a full scholarship to start this January and that where she will be attending this coming year.
“Anybody that gets a fully paid scholarship to any division 1,2 or 3 should be grateful because there is just a few that chosen,” Mr Thurton said.
And Sonny Meighan added “I believe this will open doors and she will be training longer with really good professional training and so she, I believe will be able to do better.”
Kaina said that she is honoured to have been offered the scholarship, and feels there is still much untapped talent in Belize that she hopes to inspire. “One of the greatest reasons why I stay in sports is to raise awareness that there are talent in Belize and it should be invested in.”
Amen to that.
Most Belizeans live a healthy lifestyle, especially those from villages, where playing sports and just enjoying things like running around and swimming comes naturally. Imagine if there was more money to support and train our up-and-coming athletes? Besides giving kids healthy avenues to burn off all that energy, it also raises Belize’s profile in the world.
So the next time someone asks you to contribute to a local team or sporting association, give that a thought. As Kaina shows, there is a lot of natural sporting prowess out there, but most of it is unrecognised and not trained up to its true potential. But with the success of athletes like Ms Martinez, people are taking notice of this other gleaming facet of the Jewel, and we have a feeling we’ll be reporting on more Belizean athletic achievements in the months and years to come.
Best of luck, Kaina!
And stay tuned…