By Michael Bascombe
ST GEORGE’S, December 19, 2012 – Female sport in Grenada is taking on new meaning – and new dimension. Shakira Collymore has already donned national colours for netball, volleyball and football. The heavyset but athletic 21 year-old from the parish of St Andrew is concentrating on niching a career in sports.
Her sporting abilities were spotted from a very early age while she attended the St Andrew’s Methodist Primary School where she graduated with top honours in academics and sports.
Collymore then attended the St Andrew’s Anglican Secondary School (SAASS) at a time when the girls rivalled the sporting successes of their male counterparts. She graduated with seven (7) Caribbean Examinations Council (CXC) subjects and awards of excellence in sports. Collymore also studied Social Sciences at the T.A. Marryshow Community College.
“I started playing different sports at a very early age where my teachers and coaches always said that I was multitalented and gave of 100 % at everything I did,” she said when asked about her early involvement in sports.
Collymore started playing netball and football at the age of 10, and by 15 she was representing Grenada at regional tournaments in those sporting disciplines. She played at the Jean Pierre Caribbean Netball Tournament and also captained the Grenada National Female Under-17 Football team in a World Cup Qualifier in Trinidad.
Her appetite for competitive sports grew to include basketball and volleyball, the latter being her favourite sport.
“I enjoy playing a defender role in Football but I think I am better at Volleyball especially as an opposite hitter,” she said.
At age 16 Collymore represented Grenada at a Volleyball World Championship Qualifier in St Lucia where she was one of the youngest players in the tournament. She was also a member of the national team at the Windward Islands School Games for four (4) consecutive years, where she was awarded Most Valuable Player (MVP) for Volleyball for four (4) consecutive years.
Collymore was further challenged and started playing Beach Volleyball. At age 17 she participated in the Eastern Caribbean Volleyball Association (ECVA) Tournaments – court and beach – though her team was unsuccessful. However, as a result of her performance she was named Female Volleyballer of The Year.
Collymore has represented the national volleyball team in three (3) tournaments so far this year.
But despite her preference for volleyball the Grenada Football Association (GFA) values her dedication and commitment for the sport. She caught the eyes of the GFA when she first played for her school in Secondary Schools Girls’ Competition and being described as a dominant figure and technically gifted.
“She was not just a leader for her team but also technically gifted. She joined the national programme thereafter and is now considered one of the leading full backs that we have in the game today,” said GFA’s Technical Director Lester Smith.
“What amazes me about her is how she has been able to marry football, volleyball and netball and to play so well being adaptive to whatever environment she is confronted with.”
Smith said that her latest performance against St. Vincent and the Grenadines defines her importance on the field of play. Grenada lost 1-0 in the first game and winning 3-0 in the second match.
“She was challenged by the nippy Vincentian wing player yet she was able to hold her off and not conceding any goal for her team. I believe that someday once given the opportunity she will excel at the highest level,” he said.
Collymore’s netball exploits included MVP trophies and her goal-keeping skills for Grenada against host nation Trinidad and Tobago in the Americas Federation Netball Association (AFNA) Senior Netball Championship at the Jean Pierre Complex in July.
Sports Journalist Ian Prescott wrote in the July 19, 2012 edition of the Trinidad Express Newspaper: “Grenada brought on Shakira Collymore as goal-keeper in the second quarter and the robust defender caused Wilson a world of trouble. Shorter, but solidly built, Collymore made Wilson contest every ball she got. Collymore’s presence caused 37-year-old Wilson to miss a few goals, and Wilson also made a few turnovers when resorting to elbowing and sometimes initiating contact with the dogged Grenadian defender.”
Collymore is currently employed with the Ministry of Youth Empowerment and Sports as an Outreach Officer, coaching netball and assisting in other disciplines including football, volleyball and track and field. She is also holds a level one basketball coaching certificate and most recently completed a FIFA Refereeing Course, a stop closer in qualifying as a referee or assistant.
Her immediate ambition is to secure a sport scholarship where she can further her studies as well as compete at a higher level.
“A scholarship will be very helpful to me since it will allow me to get the level of education needed but can’t afford since my mother is a single parent and unable to fund my education,” she said.
“A scholarship will also open an avenue for me to showcase my talents to the world which has been one of my life-long dreams.” Collymore wants to compete professionally and ultimately become a trainer.
Collymore is this week mourning the death of her grandmother. Eslyn Evadney Wilson, 87, died at her home in Marquis, St Andrew on Monday.