After almost a decade of offering scholarships to needy student-athletes across all sports in Jamaica, Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce’s Pocket Rocket Foundation is planning to go a step further in the near future to help prepare beneficiaries for the next stage of their lives.

Founded in 2013, the Pocket Rocket Foundation has since offered scholarships to 62 student athletes. Some of the recipients in pursuit of careers outside of sport have achieved great success.

Among them are commercial pilot Jovaine Atkinson, a former student-athlete of Kingston College, Brenton Bartley, a former Campion College volleyball player, who now holds a degree in Civil Engineering and J’Voughn Blake, a former Jamaica College student now studying a Dartmouth College in the United States.

The five-time world 100m champion and two-time Olympic champion takes great pride in these achievements and others that she has been able to make possible through the work of the foundation.

“We were able to assist 62 students and also participate in our Christmas treat, our football Peace Through Sports Initiative, the Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce Resource Centre in Waterhouse with computers and tablets for the students in the community, donated to children’s homes and just have a presence,” said the super-star athlete who holds a degree in Childhood Development from the University of Technology.

“I think for us as a foundation, where we want to go is having programmes geared towards student-athletes, educational equity, as well as sports and play community initiatives and I am really excited about the progress of the foundation and where we are heading and this time around we are making sure that we create impact when it comes to our student-athletes and making sure that they, too, have a future.”

Of the nine cohorts that have benefitted from the foundation’s largesse there is one that stands out, she said, even though all have a special place in her heart.

“I would have to say the first cohort is very dear to me. Out of that cohort we have had Brenton as well as Jovaine, who is a pilot and it’s just remarkable to see the transition. I am proud of all of them, to be honest, recently we saw J’Voughn Blake matriculate to university overseas and it’s just incredible to see what we have been able to accomplish being a part of the Pocket Rocket Foundation and the lives we were able to change.”

Not one to rest on her laurels or those of the foundation, Fraser-Pryce revealed that come January 2023, there are plans to introduce a new facet that will go even further in equipping student-athletes with the skills needed to thrive.

“What’s next is making sure that is having more community-based initiatives, mental wellness and we are definitely come January having our PR and Etiquette seminar for student-athletes making sure we equip them for the next stage of life, making sure we are giving them access to different things that will help them to advance their lives.”

 

 

 

In a career spanning more than a decade during which she has five 100m world titles, two Olympic 100m titles, and is one of the fastest women to have ever lived, Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce is just now accepting that she is among the greatest, if not the greatest of all time.

Since she became the first Jamaican woman to win an Olympic 100m title when she crossed the line first at the Beijing Olympics in 2008, Fraser-Pryce has established a number of firsts that have augmented her incredible legacy of dominance on women’s sprinting. She would eventually win back-to-back 100m gold medals and at the Tokyo Olympics became the first woman in history to win 100m medals in four consecutive Olympic Games when she finished second to compatriot Elaine Thompson-Herah.

She was also the first to simultaneously hold Olympic and World 100m titles; she has done it twice (2008/2009 and 2012/2013) and she also became the first female sprinter to win the 100m, 200m and 4x100m relay at a World Championships (Moscow 2013).

And this past summer, she became the first running athlete – male of female – to win five world titles in a single event, the oldest woman ever to win a world 100m title and capped it off running a record seven times below 10.7 in the 100m including the world-leading 10.62 in Monaco in August.

However, with all that under her belt she never believed herself to be in the conversation on who is Greatest of All Time.

“As an athlete, especially as a young athlete growing up I never had that belief in myself,” she said. “The mindset has been the greatest asset that I have had throughout my years and I always think I am very good at what I do because that is why I continue to show up knowing that I know that I can do it.”

However, her accomplishments during this past season has opened her up to the reality of the true strength of her legacy.

“To be able to accomplish the things that I did is only because of the grace of God because I have worked really, really hard and I think this time around I was more contented than ever knowing that I belong, having fun and a sense of being at peace and to be even considered one of the greatest is truly remarkable,” she said speaking to Sportsmax.TV at the conclusion of her Pocket Rocket Foundation’s ninth annual scholarship awards at the Jamaica Pegasus.

“So I am glad to even be able to me mentioned in the conversation. For me, I am just happy to be mentioned.”

Fraser-Pryce, who turns 36 in December will be going after a sixth World 100m title in Budapest in 2023 and what would be a record third Olympic 100m gold medal at the Paris Olympics in 2024.

 

Five-time world champion Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce has revealed that having won a record five 100m world championship and two Olympic 100m gold medals, she is now focused on going as fast she can before she hangs up her spikes for good.

The 35-year-old Mommy Rocket made the revelation recently at the annual Pocket Rocket Scholarship Awards at the Jamaica Pegasus in Kingston where seven new awardees received bursaries and gifts valued at J$190,000, a significant increase over previous years since the foundation began awarding scholarships in 2013.

At the start of last season, after a 200m race at the National Stadium in Kingston, Fraser-Pryce announced that her goal for the season was to run as fast as 10.5 or 10.4s and, of course, win a record-extending fifth 100m title having previously won in 2009, 2013, 2015 and 2019.

Speaking to Sportsmax.TV afterwards the awards ceremony, Fraser-Pryce, who ran a record seven-times under 10.70 seconds last season, more than any other woman has ever done, explained why she was not disappointed at not going faster than the world-leading 10.62 she ran in Monaco on August 10.

“Honestly, I am not disappointed because the conversation I had with my coach before was that to be able to run 10.5 or 10.6 you have to be able to run 10.6 consistently and I think I was able to do that,” said Fraser-Pryce.

“It was almost like second nature, automatic that I could switch on, so now that I have had that work done this season then it’s going back to the drawing board and cementing the things that I have learnt this (past) season and also getting better at some other things, hopefully I will be able to go below 10.6 soon.

“At this stage of my career that is what I am chasing, fast times that is what I am really chasing. I have accomplished a lot of things, I won my fifth world title…and I want to make sure that when I leave I (would have) given everything. That’s just the goal to make sure that the day I depart and I sit at home I would be contented that I gave everything that I could and I left no stones unturned.”

To do that, she said, there are certain things that she must improve for the coming season when she could be gunning for a sixth world 100m title in Budapest.

“Practicing relaxation has been the key and I need to be confident in my technique,” she said. “I need to have that confidence…I need to trust that technique and trust that it is not going to fail me; just making sure that I stay relaxed and execute the phases of the race the proper race all should go well.”

 

 

 

Seven student-athletes from six high schools across the island of Jamaica received scholarships valued at J$190,000, a significant increase from previous years, from the Pocket Rocket Foundation on Thursday.

This was the ninth cohort to be awarded scholarships since the foundation began offering bursaries in 2013.

At the ceremony held at the Jamaica Pegasus Hotel in Kingston, Fraser-Pryce, who on Monday was conferred with the Order of Jamaica for her sustained excellence in the sport of track and field presented Ranicka Bryan, a netball player who attends the Convent of Mercy, Athilia Pryce, a track and field athlete who attends Clarendon College and Zavier Brown, a track and field athlete from York Castle High scholarships that will run throughout the remainder of their high school careers once they continue to attend school, maintain good grades and participate in sports.

Football player Kymani Francis, a student of Alphanso Davis High, Kaysian Sewell of Wolmer’s Girls, Cael Samuels, a footballer player of Wolmer’s Boys and Euvia Bennett, a track and field athlete of St Elizabeth Technical High School, were also among the recipients.

With the help of sponsors, the foundation was able to raise the student scholarship grant from J$50,000 to J$1000,000 per student.

Also, as part of what is the most valuable scholarship ever offered by the Pocket Rocket Foundation, each student-athlete received a Digicel Tablet valued at J$25,000 and J$2000 credit, a J$10,000 GraceKennedy food basket, a J$15,000 book voucher, a J$15,000 Nike gift card, J$7500 Nike book bag as well as a J$10,000 HiLo supermarket voucher.

The seven students who were selected from 72 applicants were encouraged by the five-time 100m world champion to try their best in pursuit of their respective goals.

“Giving you this start is basically telling you that you too can see beyond where you are right now and have a bright future and we believe that with the support of our sponsors, board of directors, the parents, the coaches, the school, we are able to give you access because access equals opportunity,” she said.

“And I want to make sure we are there for you, not just monetarily but holistically, to make sure we provide for you an environment that helps you to thrive.

“I hope that you continue to excel in the classroom. I am not asking you to be perfect but I am asking you to try and to do your best.”

She also implored the parents of the scholarship recipients to do their best to support them along the way.

“It is also important that you go along the journey with them to provide support and make sure you are encouraging them to continue because it can get difficult, it can get stressful at times but if they know that you are there to help and sustain them and cheer them on, it makes a difference,” she said.

“And I am always cheering on the sidelines for you.”

 

 

Saturday and Sunday were good days for residents of the communities of both Waterhouse and Ewarton as they were the sites of Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce’s Pocket Rocket Foundation 14th annual Christmas Treat.

Residents of Fraser-Pryce’s hometown of Waterhouse were the beneficiaries on Saturday and Ewarton, the hometown of her husband, Jason Pryce, enjoyed the festivities on Sunday.

The treat, which wasn’t held on Boxing Day for the first time in 14 years, was aided by a team of sponsors and volunteers who provided the residents with a variety of goodies ranging from food bags to toys and treats.

"We’re going to be giving our adults food bags courtesy of Grace Kennedy and then for the kids, they’ll be receiving toys and other goodies from Excelsior, Digicel, Nike and others,” said Fraser-Pryce, who also thanked Toyota Jamaica for providing transportation for the event.

The nine-time World Championships gold medallist said the aim was to bring some joy to the communities in the midst of a difficult year because of the COVID-19 pandemic. She also thanked her sponsors for helping to make it happen.

“It has been a crazy year for all of us because of the pandemic and I’m hoping that as a foundation we can bring some cheer to the community of Waterhouse and also Ewarton so I want to thank all my sponsors for what they do for me and my community year after year. We could not have done it without you guys, so thank you so much,” Fraser-Pryce said.

 

 

Eight-time Olympic medallist and founder of the Pocket Rocket Foundation, Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce, has partnered with Visa to create specially branded shirts that will be available to donors who use their Visa cards to contribute US$100 to her foundation.

The shirts will feature Fraser-Pryce’s signature as well as the Olympic rings on the sleeve. Donors will also receive a mask signed by Fraser-Pryce and a Pocket Rocket pin.

Fraser-Pryce, who lowered her 100m personal best to 10.60 this season, says all proceeds will go towards the Pocket Rocket Foundation.

The nine-time World Championships gold medallist reminded potential Visa donors that their contributions are for a good cause.

“I know you guys are eager to grab the shirts but please be reminded that this will go towards the Pocket Rocket Foundation and your support means the world to us and all our student-athletes, the ones who are still here and the ones who are coming for the future,” she said.

This branded shirts venture is the latest in a number of initiatives Fraser-Pryce has undertaken to raise funds for the foundation. Last month, she was the guest of honour at an auction held at the Miramar Cultural Centre in Florida. 

Five student-athletes on Friday received cheques ranging from J$50,000 to J$60,000 under Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce’s Pocket Rocket Foundation scholarship programme that rewards beneficiaries based on outstanding academic performance whilst competing and representing their respective schools in any sporting discipline.

When City Commissioner Alexandra Davis received a request for the city to host an auction and fundraiser for Jamaican Olympian Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce in October, she jumped at the opportunity.

Shelly-Ann Fraser Pryce was the toast of South Florida at the Miramar Cultural Centre in South Florida on Tuesday night at a red-carpet event that also served as an auction and fundraiser for her Pocket Rocket Foundation.

At the event dubbed ‘An Evening with an Olympian’, the four-time Olympian raised thousands of US dollars auctioning a pair of her running spikes, competition gear, a wig, a painting of mother and son by Mark Cameron and a weekend stay at the Altamont West Hotel.

However, the high-points of the evening were the presentation of a Lifetime Achievement Award to the four-time 100m World Champion by Consul General Oliver Mair, the keys to the city of Miramar and Broward County as well as having Alexandra Davis, a City Commissioner for Miramar, declare November 16, Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce Day.

Consul General Mair told Sportsmax.TV that it was an evening when everything went according to plan and that Fraser-Pryce made it worth the while for all who turned out. She engaged the guests in conversation and took pictures with all who had requested.

“We have many icons that have made Jamaica proud; Marcus Garvey, Bob Marley, Miss Lou, Usain Bolt, Elaine Thompson-Herah, Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce is among the most decorated athletes of all time and she has done in a most respectable and humble manner,” said Consul General Mair, who presented Fraser-Pryce with the Lifetime Achievement Award.

“Her focus is always looking to empower others. Even in her book ‘The Promise’ she seeks to empower young people. Her foundation was also set up to support others.

“She has been doing this since 2008 in the sport, a woman who has put Jamaica on the world map following in the footsteps of Merlene Ottey and Veronica Campbell-Brown.”

For her part, Fraser-Pryce said she was thankful for the turnout and support she received for her foundation.

“Thank you to those in attendance especially the individuals that supported the auction,” she said in a Facebook post on Wednesday.

“I cannot forget those persons that donated despite not being able to attend. As more is poured into me, the more I will continue to pour out to others. This is how we create lasting change for generations to come.”

Since 2008, when she became the first Jamaican woman to win an Olympic 100m title, Fraser-Pryce has gone on to create a legacy as arguably the greatest female sprinter in history. She won Olympic 100m titles in Beijing in 2008 and again in London in 2012 and is one of only four women to do the same – Wyoma Tyus (1964, ’68), Gail Devers (1992, ’96) and Elaine Thompson-Herah (2016, ’21).

Along the way, Fraser-Pryce also won four 100m World titles (2009, 2013, 2017 and 2019) as well as a 200m title in 2013.

This past summer, Fraser-Pryce added to her already rich legacy when she won a silver medal in the 100m at the Tokyo Olympics, becoming the only woman to win medals in the Olympic 100m for four consecutive Games.

She added a third Olympic gold medal to her trophy case as a member of Jamaica’s 4x100m relay team that won in a national record 41.02, the third-fastest time ever.

Her work off the track has also been extraordinary. Through the Pocket Rocket Foundation, she has provided scholarships to scores of student-athletes enabling them to complete their high school education and to pursue tertiary education.

She has also hosted an annual Christmas treat for the children of Waterhouse where for the past few years she has also staged a six-a-side football competition aimed at maintaining peace within the under-served community.

Meanwhile, Consul General Mair said he was thankful to Jamaican-born elected officials in South Florida for their support of the event notwithstanding the short notice they had, explaining that they have always been supportive of similar ventures that are beneficial to the Diaspora.

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