Thu | Jan 18, 2018

JAAA to focus on 800m

Published:Tuesday | December 13, 2016 | 12:00 AMHubert Lawrence

The Jamaica Athletics Administrative Association (JAAA) is again hoping that Kenyan expertise can help Jamaica succeed in middle-distance racing.

According to Dr Warren Blake, the president of the JAAA, there are discussions now taking place that could send Kenyan coaches to Jamaica with sprint expertise making the trip in the other direction. He reported that, while the initial contact on this matter was made in 2012, a possible coach swap is on the front burner again.

Since its Olympic debut in 1968, Kenya has been a pre-eminent world power in distances from 800m to the marathon. By contrast, Jamaica, has not won an Olympic medal in an event longer than 400m since 1960. That's when George Kerr placed third in the 800m at the Rome Olympics.

Blake said the swap was first discussed four years ago.

"We had an agreement in principle that we'd be doing a coaching exchange and, possibly, athlete exchange as well," he related. "They had in fact identified one of their top distance coaches to come to Jamaica and they were willing to send him, even if we didn't send another coach."

He says that a Jamaican coach was, in fact, selected, but he subsequently fell ill. After that, the previous Kenyan federation leadership had been embroiled in a corruption scandal.

With that matter now largely resolved and a new team in charge of the sport in Kenya, the swap is back on the table for dialogue.

"They promised to go back to their federation and raise the whole issue of having ties with Jamaica to do just that sort of exchange, because they could benefit, from some knowledge in sprinting and we could benefit so it could really mutually beneficial to both our federations," said Blake.