PORTER...I am responsible for anything that needs to be done, but I mainly do eligibility and academics.
Fresh from her comeback appearance at last year's World Athletics World Championships in Doha, Qatar, Jamaican long jumper Chanice Porter was expecting to carry over her form to this year and be part of the team to the Olympics in Tokyo, Japan.
The onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, however, cancelled her plans for this year, but the former Manchester High and University of Georgia standout will not have lots of time on her hands after she was earlier this year appointed compliance coordinator in the University of Georgia's Athletics Department.
The appointment of the 2016 NCAA Division 1 long jump champion represents a full circle given she had to be processed by the same department in 2012 when she accepted a track and field scholarship to the Athens-based institution.
Asked in a recent interview how her career as a student-athlete assisted her in carrying out her duties, she replied: “It bridges the gap for me because I have first-hand knowledge of what it means to be a student-athlete. This helps me a lot with my day-to-day activities, especially with Countable Athletic Related Activities (CARA).”
Porter said her opinion carries some weight in the department.
“When we have a meeting my supervisor would ask for my feedback from a student-athlete perspective and if it would have helped me as a student athlete.”
Her days are full, she says, as her responsibilities are varied depending on the time of the year.
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“I am responsible for anything that needs to be done, but I mainly do eligibility and academics, that is I work a lot with scholarships and degree works for student athletes,” she said.
There are other areas that Porter says she gets involved with.
“I always prepare taxes for all our international student, so during tax season I am normally busy. On the enforcement side of compliance, I am responsible for CARA. This is monitoring the hours that are reported for the student athletes to make sure that they are in the required limit. If the student has a problem with the hours that were recorded, I will figure out the correct times and if see had a violation I would then report it to my supervisor.”
After being sidelined with an injury, Porter, who represented Jamaica at all three levels of the World Athletics World Championships, winning a gold medal in the long jump and bronze in the high jump in the Under-18 in Lille, France, in 2011, and fourth in the long jump in the Under 20 a year later in Barcelona, Spain, was eighth in the long jump in Doha last year.
As long as she can stay healthy, Porter says she has no plans to quit anytime soon. “Making the team to Doha was good for me because I haven't been on the world stage in a long time.
“I think I still have something left in the tank to compete. As of right now, I am not sure for how long I will compete (maybe until my ankle say I can't any more). However, until then I will continue to give my all as I represent my country,” Porter noted.
Her plans for this year had included competing at the Olympics next month in Tokyo. “The game plan for this year was to make the Olympic standard and compete at the Olympic Games. My body was feeling good and I was working with an athletic trainer [Mike Dillion] and he was finding creative ways to make me feel less pain on my ankle when I have a jump session at practice,” Porter explained.
COVID-19 obviously caused a change to the plan, and while she is training at a certain level to maintain athletic fitness, she said not having access to training facilities and her coach has limited what she can do.
“I haven't been doing anything technical in practice because my coach hasn't been to the track since the Athletic Association has closed the building even though the track is open,” she said.
“Being a person that works in collegiate athletics and seeing all the rules that the NCAA have put out regarding the virus, I understand why my coach can't come to the track being that he is a college coach,” Porter added.
There is still communication notwithstanding.
“My coach sends the work out, but they are limited. He has a garage gym and that is what we all utilise when we have weights training, of course social distancing is observed. Otherwise we haven't been doing much because it's hard to do long jump without the supervision of my coach for him to tell me what I am doing wrong or how to fix something that I did wrong.”
While giving World Athletics props for attempting some semblance of track and field competition this year with a shortened season set to start in August, Porter was not sure if she would be lining up for any events for the rest of the year.
“It is good that World Athletics are trying their best to have a short season but with all this my health comes first,” she was quick to point out, “As of right now to answer your question, if I plan to compete this season, I don't know. I think everybody is watching the virus daily to decide what's next,” she concluded.