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Jakes Hotel’s owner Jason Henzell is hoping to improve the playing surfaces in Jamaica by offering qualified training in groundskeeping. The Certificate in Groundskeeping course is being offered through the Breds Treasure Beach Foundation Skills Training Institute in St Elizabeth and HEART Trust who will be conducting the courses at the centre. The level two curriculum runs for nine months and is expected to start in March, with nine persons already registered to take part. The minimum amount of persons to start the programme is 16 and will cover training to develop and maintain field surfaces for different types of sports. Henzell’s desire to train and developed qualified persons in the field stemmed from an encounter in 2004 when he approached the Sports Development Foundation (SDF) for funding for a playing field. The reasons given for the refusal of his request which included poor maintenance of previous fields after construction, were too great for him to ignore. “Right there and right then I decided we would have to do something differently in how we approach grounds keeping in a more strategic and that we needed to build the capacity of people at the grass roots level,” he told The Gleaner Changing perceptions In addition to improving the state of fields in the country, Henzell is hoping to change the way the profession is perceived locally and to broaden the horizons and potential opportunities.“We Jamaican people tend to look down on certain things including groundskeeping but the truth of the matter is that you can make a very good career out of groundskeeping.” he said. Henzell’s mission is also to secure the future of Jamaica’s athletes, outlining that a quality playing surface to train and play will be crucial in their development and success on the world stage.“I think all we need to do is to learn, be trained, get the expertise and share it among ourselves so that the standard will improve,” he said. “Because we cannot expect our athletes to perform at the highest level unless they have good surfaces, good fields to practice on.” He hopes that the successful completion of the course will trigger similar training island wide, resulting in better quality fields across the island. “I would love to see a few years from now fields across the country will look much better and that a lot of Jamaican’s will be certified and working both home and abroad in this field,” he said.
RUGBY LEAGUE The Brisbane Broncos are set for a backline reshuffle against the North Queensland Cowboys with 19-year-old centre Gehamat Shibasaki in line to make his NRL debut. Shibasaki, of Torres Strait Islander and Japanese heritage, has been playing with the Norths Devils in the Intrust Super Cup and has represented both Queensland Residents and Queensland under 20s this year. He trained at left centre for Brisbane on Monday with captain Darius Boyd reverting to fullback and Jamayne Isaako to the right wing. Kiwi international Jordan Kahu appears set to be dropped. The Broncos will be without representative lock Josh McGuire on Thursday night. McGuire has taken an early guilty plea to a contrary conduct charge for pulling the hair of Adam Elliott in the 36-22 loss to the Canterbury Bulldogs. Star forward Tevita Pangai jnr is also in doubt after leaving the field against the Bulldogs with an ongoing hamstring complaint. While the team is yet to be finalised, Isaako said Shibasaki had earned his call-up and that he was happy to go back to the wing after “a couple of key positional changes this week” ahead of the Cowboys clash. “Some hard decisions have been made for Shibasaki to make his debut and it will be good for him to debut back home in Townsville where he is from,” Isaako said. “I played 20s with him and he is strong and athletic. He will bring a lot of energy if he was to make his debut this week. “This is obviously a game we want to win and obviously with Darbs (Boyd) having more experience [Wayne Bennett] could be chucking him back at fullback. “It was good to get back there and get a feel for playing fullback at the top level. [Boyd] going back gives me an opportunity to go back to the wing and watch him do his thing in big games like this.”