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Black left shocked by cash donation

Cash boost: Dash athletes Tahje Taylor, left and Stephan Dill race past Bean at the National Stadium (Photograph by Akil Simmons)

Aspiring young athletes from Dash Track Club will benefit from new training equipment thanks to sponsorship from Island Health Services.

The National Stadium-based club have received funding to the tune of $2,500, which they have spent on starting blocks, medicine balls and plyometrics boxes — important tools to helps their athletes’ development.

Dash have also used the money to help cover the costs of sending four of their athletes to compete at this week’s AAU Club Championships in Orlando, Florida.

Mia Black, the Dash president, said financial assistance was crucial for a small club that does not generate a lot of income and admitted she was surprised by the sizeable amount donated.

“A parent of one of our athletes presented our circumstances to Island Healthcare Services and they came back and were willing to donate to us. I was shocked and it’s a big, big help,” Black said.

“We have some great support, but there’s still a lot of work left for DeVon Bean [the head coach] and me to do to raise money.”

Bean established Dash in 2010 after previously working closely with Jerry Swan, the former Bermuda head coach.

His first athlete was Tre Houston who has become the island’s top sprinter and will compete at the Olympic Games in Rio.

“A few parents approached me after Mr Swan was no longer the national coach and asked if I would be interested in training their kids,” said Bean, who will travel to Rio next month as Bermuda’s athletics coach.

“I decided to give it a go and had Tre Houston at the start before taking on Kyle Webb and Kidane Callender.

“When those guys started seeing success everyone was like ‘what are Dash doing over here’?”

Bean, still the national record holder in the 100 metres with a time of 10.27sec, said he was encouraged that Island Health Services had recognised athletics, which he described as the “forgotten sport” in terms of funding.

“It’s hard to get funding, particularly in track and field,” said Bean, whose athletes train up to five days a week.

“I’m going to be biased here, but I feel we’re the forgotten sport and yet we seem to prove ourselves both locally and globally.

“Any money we get has to be cherished and the money we’ve got from Island Health Services has come just in time for next season.”

He also praised the behind-the-scenes work of his partner, Mia, as well as their athletes’ parents for their continued support.

“We have to thank the parents that come to the car washes and bake sales,” he said.

“I definitely want to thank Mia who does — and I use this loosely — the donkey work to help this club. She makes my life a lot easier and all I have to do is coach.”