Daegu flag-bearer solicits support »

Coleman, who is getting ready to begin her studies at the University of the West Indies, Mona, was recently selected as Jamaica's flag-bearer for the upcoming IAAF World Championships in Athletics, which will take place in Daegu, South Korea, August 27 through to September 4.

"It's one thing to go to South Korea and experience that culture because that is something I have always wanted to do, but the thought of representing my country and to be an ambassador for my country is a privilege on its own," exclaimed Coleman, the excitement stapled all across her face. "To be at the Opening Ceremony and to walk on the field with Jamaica's flag, it's something that I will cherish and remember forever."

It is a dream that is, however, under threat as she is still in need of over $300,000 to cover transportation expenses to the Asian city, as well as other related costs. While The Gleaner Company has reached out to assist the youngster, there is still a shortfall, one she is hoping will be filled before her scheduled departure on August 10, 2011.

Quite a story

Coleman's selection as Jamaica's flag-bearer at the championships is quite a story, actually.

The youngster, having developed a curiosity for Korean pop culture through her schoolmate Hae-mi Moon, decided to take it one step further and actually learn the language. From university websites to a wide range of literature, Coleman transformed a passing interest into a practice of devotion that has resulted in her being a so-called conversational Korean.

However, it wasn't until April of this year that it struck her that the IAAF World Championships was being staged in South Korea. An application for volunteerism at the major meet was rejected due to the fact that the deadline had passed. Coleman's disappointment was, however, quickly transformed into wanton excitement after she was contacted by a member of the organising team and informed that she will be allowed to represent her country at the meet.

"I was allowed to apply, but they worried about comprehension of the Korean language and whether I was able to gather the necessary funds for travel," Coleman explained. "I was given the application form in Korean to fill out and I was asked to be as honest as possible in my responses and not use a translation website or anything like that."

"I was able to answer everything, but for the question that asked what motivated me to apply, I specifically wrote that in English and explained that it being a native language would allow me to fully express myself," Coleman added.

What followed was a full acceptance and many sleepless nights for the youngster.

"There have been days when I haven't slept. It's already a challenge trying to get myself organised and trying to get sponsorships and plan for this thing, and it's been to the point where I have not slept," she shared.

"However, I find it to be a very privileged thing because I now have the opportunity to take part in something special, so I'm looking forward to it and, hopefully, we can get enough support so that it can happen," Coleman added. "I can't even put it in words, its an extreme opportu-nity and I am really hopeful."  

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