Jamaica grooming junior triathletes
Sprint powerhouse Jamaica is quietly grooming juniors to be international triathlon athletes, following the lead set by Iona Wynter, who finished 34th at the 2000 Syndey Olympics.
International Triathlon Union (ITU) coach Ina Daley recently travelled to Mexico City with junior triathlete Johnathan Lyn to participate in the Americas Triathlon Confederation (CAMTRI) Youth Olympic Games Development camp.
The camp was staged at the National Centre of Development of Sports Talents and High Performance. It targeted junior athletes (born 2001-2002) and coaches ahead of the upcoming Youth Olympic Games 2018, Buenos Aires, Argentina.
Daley, who has represented Jamaica at the Central American and Caribbean Games and the ITU Age-Group World Championship, said the camp was a success and she was excited with its goals.
"I am excited about this programme with its long-term goals of raising the competitive level of athletes in the Caribbean and Central American region," said Daley, who gained her ITU coaching certification last September in Mexico.
"As a coach, it was a good learning experience and exposure to planning for the long-term development in the triathlon for both Junior and elite triathletes," she added.
Jamaica has no athlete in the World Triathlon Series ranking, which pits the world's fastest triathletes, head-to-head, in Standard and Sprint-distance races, staged in iconic cities, for a chance to be crowned world champion.
However, the island has two promising juniors, Lyn and Llori Sharpe, who have had about a year of exposure to the sport, Daley said.
Sharpe, a 16-year-old St Andrew High School fifth-form student, finished 18th of 56 competitors at last September's World Junior Championships in Mexico. She was the only competitor from the Caribbean and the first time Jamaica was sending a representative to the event. Sharpe was recently awarded the VMBS Youth Award at the RJR Sports Foundation National Sportsman and Sportswoman of the Year awards.
Pleased with the juniors' progress, Daley recently founded a multi-sport club, Athlete's Edge, "to bring structure and support to the development of the triathlon sport at all ages and levels", she pointed out.
"Working with the national federation is a priority to assist in structuring a youth-development programme. I want to attract the youth to this amazing sport and for them to see the opportunities to be gained. I also see it as a great family sport and one that can encourage health and wellness in the Jamaican community," she said.