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Oria, female standout of Wood sports clan

Sports Scope
  • ORIA WOOD

FRED STURRUP
Guardian Columnist/Sales Executive

Published: May 02, 2012

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Oria Wood-Knowles grew up among a big group of sporting brothers.

When her father, Jim Wood, was a wiz of an infielder for the St. Bernard’s baseball organization, she and her brothers were tots. At the time, there was no indication that the family would develop into one of the iconic sports dynasties in the history of the country. Also, no one thought that the tiny female of the bunch would eventually evolve into the most versatile Wood sports figure. She has.

Little Oria has come a long way. Amazingly she has had the kind of career that easily upstaged her brothers, a tidy lot in their own right. Jim passed on prime sports genes to his offspring. The boys were good in their prime... Brad, Andre and the gang. Andre went all the way to the professional baseball ranks.

Jim has seen another era of sports excellence, through his grandsons. In the midst of the family sports circle though is the one female standout, Oria. She was determined from the very outset to rise to levels above the males in the family. She became a quality performer in softball, basketball, volleyball and athletics. If she was mindful of doing so, or someone had recognized her potential, Oria had the makings of a very good pentathlete. When the great American Jackie Joyner-Kersee came on the scene during the late 1980s and went on to put a major stamp on the pentathlon event, Oria was still competing, but the focus was more on softball and basketball.

I imagine if she had a concentration on throwing the shot putt, high jumping, long jumping, running the short sprints or longer races like the 800 meters, she would have excelled, perhaps in the manner of Joyner-Kersee. She was a high school, collegiate and senior competition star. A more humble soul could not be found. Today she is known as one who could be very vocal when the situation demands. ‘Back in the day’ however, she was very quiet, almost to the point of being an introvert. It was only in the field of competition that her combative spirit emerged.

It’s always a pleasure to go down memory lane to re-introduce the stars of yesteryear to my newer generations of readers. Oria deserves to be remembered for her years as a competitor. Yes, she was that good. Indeed, the female Wood sensation was one of the best. Oria Wood-Knowles now plays a vital role as one of the senior sports officers in the Ministry of Youth, Sports and Culture. She is one of the pillars of that government entity, continuing to make her contribution to the country’s national sports development process.

Best wishes Oria!

To respond to this column, kindly contact Fred Sturrup at sturrup@gmail.com

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