Olympic and World 400-metre hurdles champion, Melaine Walker, has received high praise for her performance in sports and contribution to community development from Chairman of the Sports Development Foundation (SDF), Mr. David Mais.
"We would like to say that Melaine Walker is truly an outstanding track and field star," Mr. Mais said at a press conference held yesterday (Sept. 22) in the VIP lounge of the Norman Manley International Airport, Kingston, to welcome home the athlete.
Mr. Mais noted Melaine’s contribution to the Maxfield Avenue community where she grew up, and her ability "to make things happen" in the area.
"Not only have you changed your community, you have helped changed Jamaica, because of the warmth and the love that the people of this country have shown in welcoming you and recognising your hard work and accomplishments. Truly, you are an outstanding representative of Jamaica," he said.
Advisor to the Minister of Youth, Sports and Culture, Ali McNab, in his brief remarks, praised the performances of Melaine and the other athletes. He said that they displayed "good work ethics, discipline and stick-to-it-tiveness" during the Berlin World Championships.
"Keep up the good work. Continue to work hard. Continue to understand that you are our role models for the rest of Jamaica," he urged the athletes.
Mr. McNab said that the SDF, the Jamaica Amateur Athletics Association (JAAA) and the Ministry were committed to the development of the athletes. He mentioned the upcoming homecoming celebrations from October 2 to October 4, which is being planned by the government to show appreciation to the athletes.
Melaine Walker, who arrived with her manager, Juliet Campbell, expressed gratitude for the support shown by her relatives and all Jamaica during the World Championships. "I couldn’t have done it without any of you guys," she said.
Melaine was met at the airport by her parents Japheth Walker and Jennifer Wilson, sister and brothers, and a team of officials, including representatives from the Sports Ministry, the JAAA, the SDF and the MVP (Maximising, Velocity and Power) Track Club, where she trains.