Laurie Foster: Preparing ‘Champs’ stars for global stage
'Champs' 2016 is now consigned to the history books. In some cases, it has unearthed, and in others, cemented a more than fair share of awesome talent. It never ceases to amaze how much is being done with so little.
In this regard, Foster's Fairplay, focusing on the future at the world level, will be looking in particular at two athletes, drawn from the many coming to mind.
That the country is now the envy of the world in the area of sprints is impatient of debate. The recent feats of the Kingston College (KC) phenom, quarter-miler Akeem Bloomfield and sprinter Nigel Ellis out of St Elizabeth Technical High School (STETHS) and described in knowledgeable quarters as the real deal only serves to drive home the point.
Coming from a history-making 44.93 at last year's world spectacle event, Bloomfield has his compass set beyond that stage. So confirmed coach Neil Harrison, who sees the World Junior Championships in July and a spot on the Rio Olympics team as the season's chief objectives.
Although no such crystal-ball glance is coming from Ellis' camp, a wise coach must see the repeat 10 teens as a promise of things to come.
Another point to be made here is that the cash-rich Bahrain trek has claimed a couple of the nation's fast men who were understudying the Bolt, Blake, Powell top rung. Ellis, barring being steered in that direction, could 'run in' on one of the vacancies created.
A few years ago, the highly respected track and field legendary disciplinarian and JAAA president, Neville 'Teddy' McCook, was hosting a top-ranked administrator in the business. Enthralled with the island's outstanding global performances, the visitor requested to be taken to where "these fantastic athletes did their training".
The pride-ridden 'Teddy' headed for the North Street campus of his own KC. After about one hour of watching some of Jamaica's most gifted young athletes, the seemingly impatient guest, with a flight to catch, asked if they could relocate to the spot, as previously requested.
With no regard for his shortness of stature, Teddy drew himself to full height, made a two-handed, all encompassing sign and said, "You are standing on it".
Against this background and an ever-mushrooming storehouse of talent with less-than-adequate quality or quantity of proper facilities for preparation, a recent comment by the sport's world governing boss is quite interesting.
That Usain Bolt has rescued the sport has become almost a clichÈ at forums across the world. Well, Lord Coe is calling for "more Usain Bolts''.
Once the suspicion that such call is a request for a lifeline to be thrown to a badly drug-tainted sport is accepted a way forward can be sought.
Typically, what is not mentioned is the role played by the equally excellent, coach, Glen Mills, who has stage-managed the Bolt act.
However, that is for a different story at another time.
Having said all that, there can be but a single response to the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) president's musings. There is a role here for Dr Warren Blake, local athletics' top man.
Picking up on the 'more Bolts wanted' comment, he should meet with the good upper house British parliamentarian and assist him and track and field to rise above the ongoing Russian drug debacle.
Coe should be invited to assemble his IAAF executive in an initiative to afford Jamaica the infrastructure pivotal to enhance its already glorious product.
The Coe remark could not have come at a more opportune time, with a new Government taking office.
For a start, a synthetic track in every parish would be handy. A travelling cadre of talent scouts, fuelled by some of the current high-performance-oriented coaches, would also have to be slotted in.
Much like Coe, the Jamaican president needs to turn a few things around. This would be a lasting legacy to his tenancy.
Image cleaning is required both in Monaco and here, and Coe has left a door open.
Enter, Dr. Blake.
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