Rosheika Grant knew she wanted to make an impact in the world of sports despite not being athletic. Little did she know that in 2021 she would be given a platform to do so when she was awarded a Chevening Scholarship.
Rosheika is one of 17 Jamaicans awarded a 2021/2022. Chevening Scholarship to enrol in a one-year master’s degree course in the United Kingdom. She will be studying Sport Management, Politics and International Development at Loughborough University in England.
“I can’t recall exactly when I fell in love with sports, but I do remember being a little girl caught up in the excitement of the West Indies playing cricket and our athletes performing in the 2000 Olympics in Sydney, Australia. It was hard for me to escape developing an appreciation for sports because both my parents are sports lovers. As I got older and became exposed to more sporting events, I realised that this passion ignited by cricket and track and field soon spread to football, basketball and just about any event where a person would show their mental and physical fortitude after periods of intense training and preparation,” Rosheika tells JIS News.
Rosheika, a Chelsea Football Club Fan, is the producer of the Caribbean’s premier sports-related podcast, ‘The Drive Phase Podcast’, and the executive producer of the Caribbean’s first track and field podcast, ‘The Track and Field Exchange’.
“There is so much that goes into sports, and I believe sufficient attention is not given to sports administration, including the welfare and proper marketing of local sportspersons. Through my selected degree programme, I hope to learn more about global standards and practices… which I can apply in Jamaica to help transform the sporting industry into a full-fledged economic earner, which, in turn, further develops the industry,” she expresses.
Rosheika points out that although Jamaica has trained some of the world’s top sportspersons, sponsorship and funding remain a hindrance to the full development of the sector. This, she believes, can be partly addressed through efficient brand management for young and upcoming athletes.
“Upon my return, I want to work with athletes to help them with brand management because I believe our athletes are some of the best in the world. However, oftentimes, they lack the proper tools to market themselves and their talents to attract financial support,” the Public Relations Executive says.
She shares that one of the most valuable lessons sports has taught her, which proved useful throughout her life and scholarship application process, is to always bet on yourself and never underestimate the value of hard work and determination.
“I love sports not just because of the performances but because there are so many stories with lessons of triumphs and failures about how sports has changed many people’s lives. Sports has rescued a lot of our athletes from subscribing to a life of crime, it has helped them to provide for their families and become ambassadors for their communities,” Rosheika explains.
The UK-bound scholar highlights that among the issues she wishes to tackle in sports is gender-sensitive training. In 2020, she hosted the inaugural Women’s Health and Athletic Performance Forum, which focused on female athletes and the menstrual cycle. The forum, which received media attention, featured Olympian Natoya Goule; Reggae Girlz Team Doctor, Dr. Gillian Lawrence; Sports Journalist, Trishana McGowan; Head of Women’s Athletics at Excelsior High School, Coach Michael Vassel; and Trinidad and Tobago Olympic Committee Representative, Rheeza Grant.
“When doing the forum last year, several athletes spoke about the shame they felt while menstruating because many coaches don’t take into consideration how they are feeling mentally and physically during this time. I believe this is an oversight that needs to be addressed urgently because globally studies show that females athletes around the age of 15 exit sports in droves because of this. Gender-sensitive training is going to be a large area of focus for me upon my return because, if left unchecked, this can weaken the nation’s ability to consistently produce top female athletes,” she shares.
Rosheika, who is excited about her future travels to England, took the opportunity to encourage professionals about applying for the Chevening Scholarship.
“This a wonderful opportunity made possible through the UK Government, and I want professionals, regardless of age, to apply for the scholarship if they are serious about nation-building and making an impact in the world. Application closes November 2, 2021, and the scholarship website provides a wealth of resources to help you with the application process,” she says.
More than 270 Jamaicans have been awarded Chevening Scholarships since Jamaica’s first cohort in 1984. Founded in 1983, Chevening is the United Kingdom Government’s global scholarship programme aimed at developing global leaders through providing the opportunity to undertake postgraduate study in the UK.