The Wright Way: Demand more from administrators
On Sunday the 23rd August, 2015, a few minutes past eight o' clock in the morning, normal activities in Jamaica stopped and an entire nation waited to exhale.
Many miles away in Beijing, China, the world's greatest sprinter ever was about to start the finals of the men's 100 metres at the World Athletics Championships. The USA had four finalists, three of whom had failed drug tests in the past, and Jamaica had two finalists, one of whom had failed a drug test in the past.
For some, this final featured the good, the bad and the up-and-coming, the young guns - one from Canada and one from the USA.
After 9.79 seconds, it was over.
Jamaicans of all walks of life were screaming, hugging strangers, and behaving as if all our economic woes were over and all gunmen were captured by the police and awaiting trial.
Usain Bolt had won ... again, allowing all those who voiced doubts about his ability to overcome injury and consistent poor starts this year, to say (through the side of their mouths) "I knew he would win".
The good won and the young guns shared the bronze medal. What a man! What a Jamaican! What a champion!
This man from Trelawny made us forget all our troubles and, for a brief moment, feel how good it is to be a Jamaican.
His victory last Sunday morning was due to his immense talent, discipline during training, and an amazing ability to follow the instructions of his coach, the great Glen Mills. A lot of other people will claim a hand in this triumph.
Stephen Francis, Jamaica's other coaching guru, has stated quite clearly his thoughts surrounding what he deems to be administrative blunders leading into the championships. But the refusal of the technical committee of the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) to allow Nesta Carter to replace the injured Kemar Bailey-Cole in the heats of the men's 100 metres is impatient of a fulsome response by the JAAA to the question: Did the person responsible for submitting entries to the IAAF before August 10 make an unforgivable error?
As I understand it, when entry lists are submitted, a substitute list should also be submitted. This was, apparently, the case at last year's World Junior Championships in the United States, when Jonielle Smith and Michael O'Hara withdrew from the female and male 100-metre races, respectively.
Smith, because of injury, and O'Hara, because he decided to do one sprint instead of two, (the 200 metres instead of the 100 metres). Jamaica were refused permission to replace them because no substitute list was submitted! So there was precedent!
Further, our own general secretary, Garth Gayle, applied for membership of the prestigious technical committee and was accepted, so it is reasonable to assume that he knew and/or (at least) read the rules.
Therefore, to voice shock and surprise and to appeal a decision that could not be altered leaves us, the people, to wonder: What on Earth is happening in China; and will there be more bleeps and blunders before the championships are over? Will anyone be sanctioned and returned home as Stephen Francis has suggested?
No. I will not hold my breath. Nothing will happen. No one will be sanctioned and the same group will be selected to accompany the team to next year's Olympics in Rio, and soon a national award for 'contribution to track and field'.
The confusion surrounding the selection of Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce at the World Relays was supposed to be addressed by the president of the JAAA. To date, I am not aware if he has issued a statement.
Hopefully, the rejection by the IAAF of three of the four nationals of the leading sprint country in the world to Council and other important committees will signal to some of our athletic administrators that the world seems to be of the opinion that our athletes can save the sport, but our administrators are not good enough to enter the inner sanctum of the IAAF.
As in netball, as in cricket, as in football, as in security, and now, as in track and field, let us demand excellence from those in charge. Let us refuse to accept underperforming administrators consistently giving themselves 10 out of 10, when the entire nation knows that their score is two out of 10. Let us demand better. We deserve it.