Tue | Oct 16, 2018

Patrick Robinson | In Dacres, Jamaica throwing its weight around

Published:Tuesday | September 11, 2018 | 12:00 AM

Let us praise Fedrick Dacres. He is the first Jamaican to be crowned Diamond League champion in a field event. On June 10, 2018, Dacres threw the discus 69.67 metres in Stockholm to break his own national record. This is a magnificent achievement in a country known as the sprint factory of the world.

In 1957, Class One boys at Champs threw a discus of the same weight as the Olympic size used by Dacres. The record was 114 feet. If there was a national record at that time, it would not have exceeded that distance by much.

Dacres' record is a little more than twice the Champs record. This speaks to the progress Jamaica has made in the event. Although not a statistician, I would venture the opinion that over the past 60 years, progress in the discus event has been greater than that in the sprints (100m and 200m).

Progress in shot put has also been very marked. The only weight event in which we have not progressed is javelin. This situation should be addressed because there is no doubt that we have athletes who can excel in this event. Overall, we have made significant progress in the weight events.

Let us also praise Dacres' coach, Julian Robinson. Like Dacres, he is an old boy of Calabar High School.

He deserves a national honour. He has coached not only Mr Dacres, but also the athlete, Traves Smikle, who held the national record for the discus before Dacres. He has also coached many other Calabar athletes who have performed very well at the secondary and national level in the discus and shot put events.

Discus is a very technical event, requiring strength, skill, and overall athletic ability. It's as though Julian Robinson has established at Calabar an institution of higher learning in the throwing of the discus.

Robinson and Dacres should want for nothing in Jamaica. Private individuals, companies, and the Government should be beating down their doors with offers of financial assistance and other resources.

In Fedrick Dacres, Jamaica has, all things being equal, a potential gold medallist in the next World Championships and Olympic Games.

Let us also praise and celebrate the Haitian winner of the US Open Tennis Championships, Naomi Osaka - not a bad achievement for someone from a state described by the leader of the free world as a "s***hole country".

Her father being Haitian, she is from our neck of the woods, and for historical reasons, one of us. We are also proud of the runner-up, Serena Williams, who is also, for historical reasons, one of us - a win-win situation for Jamaica.

- Patrick Robinson is a judge of the International Court of Justice, The Hague. Email feedback to columns@gleanerjm.com.