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Over 150 students of the University of Technology (UTech) were, on Thursday (Oct. 4), presented with awards by the institution in recognition of their outstanding achievements in sports and academics during the 2010/11 and 2011/12 school years.

The presentations, which were made during UTech's inaugural Students' Academic and Sport Awards Ceremony, at its Papine Campus in St. Andrew, saw some 83 students receiving awards for outstanding academic performances.

They included: Kemoy Raymore, who made the Dean's list for the 2010/11 academic year; and Cudian Buckley, Tilvan Grant, Vinston Mattocks, Francine White, Stacey Peart, and O’Brien Brown, who made the list for 2011/12.

Eighty-six student athletes, who were able to attain and maintain a 3.0 Grade Point Average (GPA), or higher score, were also recognised. Among them were: Jacques Harvey, who received the 2010/11 Male Student Athlete of the Year award; and Carrie Russell and Anneisha McLaughlin, who shared the Female title. The 2011/12 Male Student Athlete award went Simon Tomlinson, with Olympic champion, Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce, copping the Female version for the period.

Speaking at the ceremony, UTech President, Professor the Hon. Errol Morrison, noted that the institution has been successful in mastering the combination of sports and academics.

"This is something unique being pioneered by UTech, where we're recognising the combination of academia and sports. UTech shows the way in combining these two (areas) in a meaningful way through its Faculty of Science and Sport," he remarked.

Professor Morrison said the success of this undertaking was evidenced through the continued outstanding performances of its athletes, who, in the process, have managed to maintain high grades.

"Of our over 300 student athletes…30 per cent of them are performing in their academic pursuits at a GPA of 3.0 or more," he remarked.

Professor Morrison made special mention of Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce, whom, he said, continues to perform at a remarkable level, both in her sport and academic pursuits.

He noted that the Olympian, who won three medals, two Gold and a Silver, at the 2012 London Summer Olympic Games, will graduate from the institution this year with “excellent grades, and plans to go on to post-graduate studies".

“Let Shelly-Ann’s success be a motivation to our youth throughout this country, and beyond. Reminding them of the good old adage, ‘what man has done, man can do’,” he stated.

In his remarks, Dean of the Faculty of Science and Sport, Associate Professor, Dr. Colin Gyles, said the faculty’s main aim is to have students attain the highest levels of sports performance, while maintaining top academic grades.

"We recognise that the period for sports performance is very short-lived. And not only is it short-lived for those who actively compete, but some will also compete and not be the best. So persons must be prepared to be able to take care of themselves and have a fulfilling life after the days of successful sport performance," he remarked.

Meanwhile, Chairman of telecommunications firm, LIME, Christopher Dehring, who was guest speaker, underscored the importance of Jamaicans recognising the economic impact that sports can generate for Jamaica.

"It (sports) is one of the biggest, most complex, and fastest growing industries in the world," he remarked.

Mr. Dehring informed that the earning potential from sports for Jamaicans and the country, on a whole, is remarkable. He cited, as an example, Jamaica and West Indies cricketer, Chris Gayle, whom, he pointed out, is able to generate earnings in excess of US$1 million, from participation in six weeks of competitive cricket matches.

In noting the significant impact which Jamaica has on sports globally, he stressed the need for the nation’s administrators to make every effort to exploit the derivable economic opportunities and benefits.

"Our brand in sports is so powerful that we need to be taking this opportunity to invest in it, to build it, and to create an industry," Mr. Dehring emphasized.

UTech’s Faculty of Science and Sport gives scientific support to the training and development of world-class professionals, in keeping with the institution’s focus on promoting "Excellence through Knowledge". It offers electives in some 14 modalities, including: football, tennis, badminton, track and field, and golf.