The Sprinter Factory

2017, Sports  -  22 min Leave a Comment
Rating from 1 user ( The Sprinter Factory (2017) on IMDb )
Report Documentary


3 min read

Jamaicans take their athletes seriously. That’s the reason why young girls and boys aspire to become their country’s newsprint champions.

This film focuses on three young ladies: Okhalia, Alesha, and Shellece. These girls dream of becoming Jamaica’s next famous sprinting champions because they want to continue the legacy.

There is no other school in Jamaica that produces the number of athletes that qualify for the Olympics like St. Jago school. The students see the training program as a vehicle to take them out of poverty and so they push themselves against all obstacles. Rain, sweltering heat, or the lack of proper running shoes are not enough to stop them. The coaches at St Jago nurture that dream as they prepare them to participate in the Inter-Secondary Schools Boys and Girls Championships, a tournament known for turning sprinters into stars.

The Boys and Girls Champs is five days of fierce competition. Famous athletes such as Usain Bolt, Shelly-Ann Fraser –Pryce, and Elaine Thompson all competed in Champs and it was a springboard to their success.

Alesha Kelly is a special talent that was recruited by St. Jago. She spent the last year living away from her family so she could train for the tournament. Her mother lives in the United States but communicates with her every day

Okhalia Buchanan placed 8th in the world for juniors when she was only 14.  This earned her the nickname ‘Little Rocket’ because she was the smallest one in the pack.  A student at Wolmer’s High School in Kingston, Okhalia suffered hamstring injuries that kept her out of the spotlight for three years.

The big Rocket, of course, is Shelly-Ann Fracer-Pryce, who just like Okhalia grew up in a poor neighborhood. Her mother had been an athlete but got pregnant at a young age. However, she insisted to Shelly-Ann that track and field was her ticket out of poverty.

At Edwin Allen High School the coaches start to recruit sprinters at age 11 or 12. Shellece Clarke is a student there and she has won many gold medals for her school. Her parents are confident that in 2020 she will be an Olympic Gold Medalist.

Amid a lot of pressure coming from their schools, parents, and fans, and while pushing themselves more than they ever have before, these girls run for the gold. They are hungry.

Directed by: Isaac Solotaroff