‘Train up a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not depart from it”
‘Train up a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not depart from it”. Proverbs 22:6. Jean- Paul Alfonso Drakes aka Drakes is living proof and testament of this great scripture. Perhaps it is the determination and the drive that he has demonstrated since his school days at both the primary and secondary level, and even now he still devotes time to his natural born capabilities in the track and field arena. Drakes is currently employed at Republic Bank Limited and he also studies Physical Education at the University of the West Indies. Entering the CariFin games for the first time, he now holds not one, but two of the spotlights at the CariFin Games 2017 where he placed first in both the 1 Lap Savannah and the Green Mile competitions. It is safe to say that with motivation, commitment, dedication and a love and desire for what you do anything is possible.
After thirteen years in the track and field Drakes made some great achievements and self-discoveries. Placing second in an 800m race at his St Margaret’s Anglican Primary School Sports in 2004 was his jump starter. Onlookers saw his natural ability in the sport and it was here that he was introduced to Coach Stewart of Memphis Pioneers Athletic Club by Ms. Campbell. As he puts it, “from that day on I haven’t stop running.” Some of his other achievements include; awarded a certificate for outstanding performance in Track and Field at Trinity College East where he attended, third place overall male for Secondary School cross country 2011 and 6th fastest 1500m for NAAA Track and Field 2016. First place in the One Lap Savannah run with a time of 14:56 and first place for the Green Mile with a winning time of 5:01. Jean-Paul also participated in swimming but he always had a desire for track and field in particular distance running.
Inevitably, the amount of years spent in the sport of track and field and distance running has also taught Drakes some valuable life lessons; (1) never give up and never lose faith, (2) consistent training in strength and endurance is essential, (3) maintaining a healthy and balanced diet goes a long way with a little of the delicacies from time to time after all he lives in Trinidad. In addition, (4) a closer relationship with God and deepening his faith has helped him become a better all-round individual. “I have experienced a breakthrough, taking a step closer to my faith and understanding that there is more to life than selfish pleasures or pride.” (5)Having people that inspire you definitely helps to uplift and give the extra drive. Drakes has mentors Collin Jeron Pereira and Shirvan Baboolal, who are among the top distance runners in Trinidad and Tobago.(6)Your health is your wealth- as an active sports man he also has an annual sports check-up.
His personal motto “I can and I will” has definitely brought Drakes a long way. He hopes to win CariFin 2017 and sometime in the near future represent Trinidad and Tobago and his family in the Olympic Games. He believes his participation in the CariFin Games is a stepping stone to this dream as it will help him to determine where he is and where he needs to be. To his fellow competitors in the CariFin Games and general individuals in the financial sector his advice is to get and stay actively involved in fitness sessions, all the best in the games and never give up!
Jean-Paul has certainly proved to be a committed, hardworking and God fearing athlete both on and off the field. Congratulations in your successes thus far and with that spirit we are confident that you will continue to reach higher heights in your dreams and aspirations all while having fun, keeping fit and making friends at the same time. All the best to you and……. May the fastest man win!!