Mon | Apr 24, 2017

Letter of the Day: Representing country not for the faint of heart

Published:Friday | August 28, 2015 | 8:00 AM

THE EDITOR, Sir:

If you can't handle criticism, sports is not for you, and representing Jamaica is definitely not for you.

Both Asafa Powell and Warren Weir knew exactly what was going to happen if they didn't show up in their races. Criticism would be coming from every direction; if you didn't know this, you are not a Jamaican.

Jamaican athletes are the most criticised in the world, and they also get the most praises and support when they deliver. Researchers have been trying to find out why our athletes are so fast, and they have been looking into a lot of things. I suggest they look into our pride and the criticism that athletes face if they don't deliver when representing the country. They don't just compete for medals, they compete for national pride.

We criticise everyone who doesn't deliver or do their best when representing the country - the Government, footballers, bobsledders, netballers. Even the great Usain Bolt has got his share, so why should two athletes who could have done much better be exempted?

Now, Justin Gatlin. The only reason he's running so fast is because he's trying to disappoint us Jamaicans. The only 'drug' I am sure he's taking is all the criticism we have been feeding him. Criticism gives people power. If you don't know that yet, you have been living under a rock.

No one ever died from criticism, and we will soon forget their bad performances (just like we do with our Government). Next year, we will have them back on pedestals, because no matter how much they lose, once they are on the track representing Jamaica, they will be getting 100 per cent of our support. And anyone who can't take our criticism surely doesn't deserve our praise or our support.

We hold our sprinters at standards higher than Mount Everest and tell the world that they set the standards by which other sprinters are judged.

So please, stop with the emotional, "better luck next time". We want to develop more Usain Bolts, not a bunch of petty Carl Lewises.

And to all the sprinters out there who cannot accept criticism but wish to represent Jamaica, don't bother to sign up. You won't make it. Run your races in the comfort of your own home.

ERROL NISBETH

Blogger, Founder of Saint Ann 360

errol@nisbeths.com.