Richards is a bronze medallist who competed in the shot put at the last 2015 World Championships and made the final at the 2016 Rio Olympic. He also won the gold medal at the 2015 Pan Am Games, as well as the 2014 Commonwealth Games. Williams, 22, competed in the 100m final in Rio and ran the lead off leg as a member of the 4x100m relay team which won the silver medal. Simmonds, the 22-year-old 100m hurdler, was the 2016 Jamaican national champion and represented Jamaica during the latest Olympic Games, while Forte, who just missed competing in Rio breaking the 20 seconds barrier in the 200m for the first time in 2016. McDonald is the 400m national record holder with a personal best of 43.93 seconds. He was part of the medal winning relay teams at the last two World Championships. Global Sports brand PUMA continues to deepen its roots in Jamaican athletics after securing the signatures of seven of the island’s top athletes. PUMA, a long-time partner of the Jamaica Athletics Administrative Association and the Jamaica Olympic Association followed up its recent signing of Commonwealth champion Kemar Bailey-Cole with seven MVP Track Club athletes, including Olympic silver medallist Shericka Jackson, World Championships medal winner O’Dayne Richards, Janieve Russell, Christania Williams, Julian Forte, Rusheen McDonald and Megan Simmonds. “PUMA continues their commitment with up-and-coming athletes, and its mission to be the fastest sports brand in the world by signing seven Jamaican athletes to represent them in the upcoming World Championships in London. They all have a strong possibility to make the podium in London and increase PUMA’s footprint in Jamaican athletics, which includes none other than Usain Bolt,” read a release issued by the company late yesterday. The signings represent a major coup for PUMA considering MVP’s long association with US brand Nike and the fact that its most recognisable ambassador, Usain Bolt, will be stepping off the track at the end of the season. Twenty-one-year-old Jackson represents one of the most exciting signings for the company. Jackson won bronze medals at the 2015 World Championships and the 2016 Olympic Games in the 400m and was a member of the 4x400m world title winning team in 2015 and the Rio 2016 silver medal mining unit. She has a personal best of 49.83 seconds in the 400m and is seen as Jamaica’s future of the event. Russell’s Olympic ambition was hampered by injury, but she also brings significant promise and world-class pedigree. The 23-year-old 400m hurdles specialist has already made her mark in the event and the best is still to come. Russell was a finalist at the 2016 Rio Olympic Games and 2015 World Championships in Beijing. She is also a former World Junior Champion. BRONZE MEDALLIST
Boston College offers a health cash plan to all of its 450 employees, irrespective of their level of seniority or the number of contracted hours they work. Its health cash plan, provided by Westfield Health, has helped to reduce staff sickness absence rates by 28%; employee absence rates for the entire workforce fell from 4,114 days in 2011 and 2012 to 2,955 days in 2013 and 2014.The plan also enables staff to pay towards health resources they may not otherwise have access to, such as acupuncture and osteopathy, as well as an employee assistance programme (EAP).Tim Millington, human resources manager at Boston College, says: “There is no doubt that there are some additional benefits to PMI compared to a health cash plan.“[But] further education has suffered badly under the austerity measures introduced over the last few years, and we have to recognise people’s financial restrictions at the college.”Millington adds that Boston College’s health cash plan adheres to employees’ needs effectively, and explains that budgetary constraints mean the college cannot offer PMI as well. “We have found the cash plan to be a very well-received employee benefit offering excellent value for money for [employees], and providing great results in staff engagement and staff absence,” he explains.