Levi Cadogan, the schoolboy sprint king of Barbados, created history today when he signed a contract with the international shoe company Adidas at the office of the Barbados Olympic Centre, Wildey, St Michael this morning.
Addressing a Press conference after the signing, Joseph Codrington of Codrington Elite Performance who negotiated the contract with Adidas on the young sprinter’s behalf, disclosed that this was the first time a young Barbadian athlete had been signed to an international company while still being at school.
“This is a historic day for athletics in Barbados; no other schoolboy has ever turned professional and received sponsorship from a international company while still being at school. Levi has broken new grounds,” Codrington said.
He added that the contract between the budding star and the international brand would end in 2016.
Codrington described Cadogan as an emerging talent and disclosed that he decided to sign up the young Barbadian before another agency added him
to their register.
“The contract between Levi and Adidas will end at the end of August 2016. Included in it is a sum of money which I will not disclose. In addition, Levi is contracted to wear the sponsor’s gear at all track meets he is competing at. This does not apply when he is competing for Barbados when he must wear the gear of the sponsors of the national team. But he must wear his sponsors’ shoes at all times,” Codrington, himself a former high-quality athlete in the 1970s and 1980s, said.
Destiny Cadogan, Levi’s mother, told the media conference that despite getting several offers from universities in the United States her son would not be accepting any of them.
“We have decided that Levi will be based at home. The family has built a solid business foundation for him which will allow him to focus his attention on his athletics career rather than academics,” Cadogan said.
She acknowledged that while it was not the norm for local athletes to refuse scholarships to attend North American universities, the decision made was the right one for her son.
“I am sure that Levi will become a top class athlete. This decision will crack the barrier for home-based runners and will be seen as ground-breaking in the future,” a passionate Cadogan said.
His coach at the St Michael School, Gabriel Burnett, said he wanted the highly promising sprinter to attend college but when he discovered that this was not the desire of Levi’s parents he acceded to their wishes.
“It is going to be a wonderful opportunity to coach such an exciting talent. My major focus is on the World Games,” Burnett said.
Codrington, who served as overseas-based liaison officer for the Barbados Amateur Athletic Association for five years as well as the manager of the Barbados team to the 1999 Central American And Caribbean Games, stated that he would be booking Cadogan at several meets in the United States and Europe. He explained that even though Cadogan would not be competing at college events, the young runner would still be competing against first-class runners.
Cadogan said that cricket was his first love but added all of the people around him were happy about his budding career on the track.
“I like to see my family and friends happy and they are quite happy with my performance on the track. My times have been improving and I am looking forward to a long career,” Cadogan said.
The 18-year-old St Michael student is rated 130th in the world in the 100 metres and 112th in the 200 metres.