Developing leadership skills through intramural sports

On February 18, The Medium interviewed Isaiah Colthrust, a fourth-year digital enterprise student here at the University of Toronto Mississauga (UTM). He discusses his experience coming to Canada and the importance of community. 

Originally from Trinidad and Tobago, Colthrust, like most children, got involved in sports because his family doctor said that he needed more physical activity. After driving past a dojo and hearing loud yells, Colthrust and his family checked inside and he was instantly fascinated by karate.

After racking up hundreds of classes, Colthrust progressed his way up the karate ladder. He went on to earn his third-degree black belt and won the Junior World Championship in kumite, a form of karate similar to sparring with an adversary. 

Colthrust came to Canada on his own and immersed himself into the new school environment immediately. Coming to a new country and trying to find a good dojo among studying was a tall task for our profile athlete. So, after ten years of studying karate, Colthrust’s intrinsic fascination dwindled down.

When it comes to his transition to Canada, Colthrust says that he felt nervous, but he was also excited for the opportunity to be on his own. Colthrust’s love for Canada comes from the people he has met. He says that the past four years have been “arguably the most impactful years in terms of friendships.”

Apart from his studies, Colthrust has been getting himself involved in many of the communities at UTM. He takes on mentorship and leadership roles for the Institute of Communication, Culture, Information and Technology and the UTM residences. Colthrust says that these programs help balance school and his social life.

Another way to join the social mix is to join intramural sports at UTM. Colthrust has been an active member of the drop-in and intramural soccer programs at the Recreation, Athletics & Wellness Centre. Colthrust recalls becoming a captain of his intramural team last semester and that it was his favourite year of playing the sport. He says that it was “fulfilling to be the person who brought everybody together,” and it was nice to stay off the bench too.

For those who find it difficult to find others to play with, Colthrust shares some advice on that situation: “Get into a better mindset. Join [Intramural] Leagues as a free agent and reach out to team captains.”

Despite all the activities Colthrust has been a part of, he thinks of his potential as something he grew into, rather than something innate. He says, “When I look back on it, I think, ‘Wow, I mentored these students’ or ‘I led this team’ when I had no clue I could do that six months ago. I think it’s really changed my mindset of being able to say, maybe, everything else isn’t that hard or impossible as well.”

When it comes to his future, Colthrust says, “I just want, in five years, to be known as someone who’s really skilled in my field […] I want people to be like ‘Isaiah has a really good marketing brain.’”


If any readers want to keep up with Colthrust, you can at his YouTube channel Isaiah Improves. As an inspiring leader both on and off the pitch, Isaiah Colthrust has been a great member of our community and we wish him the best of luck in the future.

Athletics Correspondent (Volume 48) — Robert is completing a Bachelor of Commerce, specializing in accounting. He has served as a staff writer for two years. Upon completing first year Robert was unsure of which programs were available to him and what to commit his time into. Curious, he took writing courses and began writing short stories on his free time which led him to The Medium. He loves the competition that sports brings and spends his time watching or playing Basketball, Tennis, or Soccer.

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