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Zodiacs miss Olympic opportunity

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Although nine athletes from the Zodiacs Track Team have qualified to perform on the two largest amateur track and field stages - the USA Track and Field National Junior Olympics and the Amateur Athletic Union National Junior Olympics – league officials from the Co-op City organization claim that many of the young stars will be unable to attend due to a lack of finances.   

“Unfortunat­ely, we will not be able to attend both races due to finances,” noted Winston Dinkins, co-president of the Zodiacs.  “In fact, trying to get all nine athletes to one event may be difficult due to finances.”

The Zodiacs competed in both regional qualifiers, which consisted of the best athletes from the Adirondacks, New England, New Jersey, Connecticut, Niagara Territories and the New York Metro area.

The nine athletes that qualified are: Francine Pinnock, who took 1st place in the shot put at the USATF and AAU and 1st place in the discus at the AAU; Simone Grant, who took 3rd place in the 200 meter and 4th place in the 100 meter at the AAU; Osiris Nicholson, who took 1st place in the 100 meter race in the AAU; Dominique Jackson, who took 2nd place in the 100 meter and 200 meter race for USATF and 3rd place in the 100 meter race and 4th in the 200 meter race in the AAU; Tatyana Francis, who took 1st in the 400 meter race for the AAU and 3rd in the 400 meter race for USATF;  Spencer Jackson, who took 1st place in the 800 meter race and 3rd in the 400 meter race for USATF, while ending in 2nd place in the 800 meter race and 4th in the 400 meter race at the AAU qualifiers; Kevin Mathis, who took 2nd in the 200 meter race for AAU; Devon Sergnious, who took 2nd in the hammer throw and 3rd in the shot put for the USATF and 3rdin the discus and 3rd in the shot put for the AAU; and Marcos Fernandez, who took 3rd in the shot put for the USATF and AAU, and 3rd in the discus at the AAU qualifier. 

The USATF Junior Olympics will be held, starting this week, from July 22-27, in Omaha, Nebraska, and is the most visible youth athletic development program in the world.

Also, the AAU will be held in Detroit, Michigan from July 23 - August 2.

Both events are the first place many of today’s Olympic stars began their athletic careers, but the Bronxites may not be among them. 

“It will be a shame that some of the top athletes in the Bronx will not be able to showcase their abilities due to finances,” reiterated Dinkins. 

In an effort to make sure that these grand opportunities do not pass the young athletes again, the Zodiacs are hopeful local residents and businesses will step up and donate money to the non-profit organization. 

For more information, call (914) 441-6196, email Watclt@aol.com or visit www.zodiacstrack.org

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CNG: Community Newspaper Group