Tue | May 23, 2017

Foster's Fairplay

Published:Tuesday | February 10, 2015 | 2:00 AM
File Michael Frater, Olympian and Jamaica Athletics Administrative Association (JAAA) second vice president.

Members of Jamaica's track and field family are concerned about what they view as deafening silence coming from the man in charge of athletes' welfare in the two-year-old Dr Warren Blake-led Jamaica Athletics Administrative Association (JAAA) team.

The individual under fire is athlete Michael Frater, whose win at the December 2012 polls gave rise to an appointment, which placed him squarely in the line of fire, fielding complaints from his fellow competitors.

Foster's Fairplay shared the concern and went hunting answers.

Why has the 2005 Helsinki Worlds 100m silver medallist seemingly gone into hibernation? He seemed prepared.

"I am not the one who is going out and publicising what I have done because I respect the words 'privacy' and 'personal'," he continued in similar vein.

"Not every situation needs to be in the public. Going to the media is one thing, but when the athlete comes and votes on a particular policy that goes a far way ... there are a lot of changes made and more to come, but not everything will be made overnight."

The former MVP sprinter, now at the Racers Track Club, had a word for his fellow athletes who had catapulted him to JAAA power by an overwhelming margin - exceeding any other in the voting exercise.

Switching to his athlete's cap, he said: "What we need more than anything is other athletes to step up and come to the elections because we are the ones on the ground who know what we have been through."

Frater, who boasts the distinction - one of extreme rarity - of following Boys' Champs Class Three standout performances with major individual medallist status at the senior global level, did not spare his administrative colleagues from adverse comment.

"Another (thing) I will say is, right now, the JAAA needs to be clear and precise with its policies. While I know that in certain situations discretion is needed, past and senior athletes need to make themselves available to make valuable input when there is an election to make changes instead of sitting on the sidelines and criticising."

Foster's Fairplay tightened the noose. No way would the sprint relay backstretch king be allowed to 'fly the coop'.

What about the unorthodox VCB selection for the World Indoors? Surely, she was ineligible, having no competition this season, so how come?

"Regarding the VCB situation and Samantha (Henry-Robinson, the athlete who was ousted), VCB was freed before the deadline of the entry and she had requested and qualified (last year) to be included in the team."

Hold on Michael, not so fast. 'Qualified', under existing rules and practice, does not necessarily mean 'eligible'.

A cut above the rest

Further to that, Frater, who has the distinction of being one of the most highly regarded and respected of the country's athletes, is expected to act accordingly. He is seen to be a cut above some of the less-than-honourable character traits, which continue to bedevil those not blessed with his background and family upbringing.

Even if one can forget some untidy and despicable podium behaviour after his team of four relay men were responding to their gold medal during the playing of the national anthem while on World Championships duty, one is loathe to ignore last year's faux pas.

The stage was the Courtney Walsh Award for Excellence ceremony. Frater, the ultimate winner, did not show. An executive of the sport's local governing body did and offered an excuse for the Wolmerian's absence, which identified a crippling condition. Caught dancing up a storm at a fÈte later that same evening spoke to anything but.

Shame, Michael! Shame! But bigger shame on the organisers for endorsing his recalcitrant behaviour as though it were mere trivia. It was an insult of the lowest order to the gathering assembled there to support the winners.

As for the organising committee, the lot are guilty of crowning deceit with the distinction which should be accorded to champions of honesty and decency akin to the icon in whose honour the award was created.

What is the message the little man is sending to the youth with this shoddy and tasteless response to being singled out for special recognition?

Let it not happen again in any shape or form!