Tuesday, October 30, 2018

Cyprian Fernandes: Meldrita's tribute to Ray Batchelor

Meldrita (Laurente) Viegas: I was still in high school when the Achilles Club was born. In school I participated in inter-school meets and later the Coast Championships. It was at the Coast Championships that Ray Batchelor recruited me to train at the Mombasa Municipal Stadium.

Ray was a hardworking and dedicated coach. Each athlete was guided according to the raw talent he saw in them. In preparation for each meet, the Monday to Friday training was intense. Two to three hours a day.

After light jogs, warm ups exercise etc, Ray would ask me to run up the stadium seats (steps) with knees as high as I could get them. This, he told me, would help improve the length of my strides. There was always a count for each activity, for example:  3 light jogs round the stadium track or 5 starts accompanied by a 50 yard dash. Relay baton exchanges were also included.

I remember vividly how at one Coast Championship, Ray admonished me for taking part in events I did not train for. My events were the 100 yards 200 yards long jump and 400x100 yards relay. A friend and I decided to take part in the shot put and discus. There were very few competitors and we were sure of getting medals.

Under Ray Bachelors leadership, I went to the Kenya Championships in Kisumu and Nakuru.
I was one of the ladies chosen to train at Jeans School Kabete. This was to provide us with the opportunity to compete at the international stage.
I learnt from Ray Bachelor what it meant to concentrate, be dedicated and determined. He nurtured these qualities in each of us. I am grateful for that to this day.

Meldrita (Laurente) Viegas

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