Wed | Sep 20, 2017

Where is the evidence, Dr Wright?

Published:Thursday | January 26, 2017 | 1:00 AM

THE EDITOR, Sir:

I write to comment on the article written by Dr Paul Wright in the Gleaner of January 24, 2016.

Given the fact that only a handful of schools will ever be able to win Champs, why is it that most of the coaches are against this ruling? It can't be because they want to win at all costs, as have been stated.

Another question is, how will the ruling reduce the so-called abuse of these students? As a past student of one of these 'win at all costs' schools, I can attest that the training regimen is much more difficult than what takes place over the five days of Champs. As an example, Taylor of Calabar (High School) is likely to run eight to 10 races over the five days, covering a distance of up to 2,800 metres. Any decent training regimen is likely to ask him to cover half of that distance, at full speed, in one day. While ISSA may well have the athletes' protection as their primary concern, it is noticeable that there are no scientific facts being brought to the table (by those for and against). All we hear is that 'our top athletes are burning out too early,' however, there are no comparisons to any jurisdictions internationally.

Without a doubt, all our top junior athletes cannot become world-beaters, and Jamaica has produced a higher proportion (given its population) than any country in the world. Therefore, something is going right.

The final point to be made is the need to praise ISSA for protecting athletes, when this is the same body that has imposed a longer football season that at times imposes three matches in six days. This has likely resulted in a significantly more running, albeit at less intensity than my example above.

While I can anticipate being told that both sports are not comparable, the point still remains that there has been no research in this matter, and we are making decisions that are at best anecdotal and at worse emotional.

Henoy Russell