Calabar High's sprinter Michael O’Hara has been declared eligible by the Pennsylvania Interscholastic Athletic Association (“PIAA”) to participate in the 2015 staging of the Penn Relays.
Early this month, Penn Relays officials met and decided to prevent the two Champs gold medalists, O'Hara and Jaheel Hyde, from competing at the annual Franklin Field Classic, because they are deemed to have contractual agreements with telecommunication companies in Jamaica.
According to Inter-Secondary Schools Sports Association (ISSA), “The Pennsylvania Interscholastic Athletic Association (OIAA), the states high school governing body which sanctions the Penn Relays High school events, has ruled “both athletes are deemed to have received benefits related to their athletic skills and performances which are not available to all students at their high schools.”
Defending Penn Relays 400m hurdles champion Hyde signed with LIME while O’Hara disclosed during Champs that he is Digicel brand ambassador.
O’Hara’s legal team, led by local based Attorney Donovan St. L. Williams of the firm Donovan St. L. Williams & Co., US based Attorneys Paul Greene of Global Sports Advocates and Steven Silver of McBreen & Kopko filed an emergency application in the Philadelphia Court, District of Pennsylvania and successfully challenged the PIAA’s decision to ban O’Hara from running at the Penn Relays.
The Court made an Order directing the PIAA to conduct a hearing to properly consider the matter of O’Hara’s eligibility. Subsequent to the hearing, the PIAA and Penn Relays agreed to reinstate Michael’s amateur status with immediate effect thereby allowing him to run at the Penn relays.
“Undoubtedly we are pleased with this decision and look forward to seeing Michael’s talent on display on the track”. Greene said.
Steven Silver who argued the case in Philadelphia Court of Common Pleas said “O’Hara is a maverick for mounting this challenge before a Philadelphia court and the PIAA”.
Michael O’Hara and his mother Kereen are extremely thrilled about this outcome and are grateful to the Judge for her sound reasoning and direction. O’Hara’s legal team is especially pleased that due process and justice has prevailed.
O’Hara would like to thank God for seeing him and his family through this process and also thanks his legal team, family, friends, team, school and supporters in Jamaica and all over the Globe.
O’Hara welcomes the opportunity to represent his team, school and country at this international event.