Thu | Aug 17, 2017

Foster's Fairplay | Adrian's answer

Published:Tuesday | February 21, 2017 | 2:00 AM
Wolmer’s Jaheel Hyde (left) and Calabar’s Michael O’Hara match strides as they head down the track in the final of the Class One boys’ 110m hurdles at Champs.

Any avid track and field fan is sure to know Adrian, who is a most passionate supporter of St Jago High School, having attended the Monk Street institution in the Michelle Freeman-Donovan-Powell era. The always, smiling six-footer has tried his hand at writing about the sport for a very prominent website, as well as being a most enthusiastic post-competition interviewer of athletes. He has assisted Foster's Fairplay during coverage of global events like the World and World Junior Championships in Osaka and Bydgoszcz in 2007 and 2008, respectively. A recurring problem is that the photographs he submits consist more of selfies with the female athletes, than that which is suitable to accompany the coverage. Adrian has a tendency to come up with some unconventional views on the sport, that those who have grown accustomed to his crazy ideas reject them before he can get halfway. But, enough of that, as he has recently proven that there is method to his madness.

Two weeks ago, this columnist was approached by Adrian to ventilate on a thought that had been tickling his mind. He wanted to contact the Inter-secondary Schools Sports Association (ISSA) about their new rule to be instituted this year, addressing the alleged abuse of athletes at Boys and Girls' Championships. He was contesting a stipulation that an athlete would only be allowed to participate in two individual events, plus a similar amount of relays. It is Adrian's opinion that an athlete of the highest quality, for example, a Michael O'hara or a Jaheel Hyde, would be prevented from competing in one of three intended events, despite being world class in them all. This, in his view, would dilute the quality of the championships, which stands as a product supremely attractive to the entire world. Foster's Fairplay was forced to resist another Adrian thought. It was felt that high-quality athlete or not, the ISSA rule, that had been underpinned by a 100% group vote in favour, would have to be scrapped. How could the same principals, shift from their stance of 'two plus two', without losing credibility?

 

RENEWED VIGOUR

 

Anyone who thinks that Adrian would pull himself back into his shell, wheel and come again weeks after, does not know his nature when that bee gets into his bonnet. In the space of a day or two, he displayed renewed vigour, determined to restore his self-expressed image of being a creditable analyst of the sport. This time it had to be something that did not impinge on or in any way challenge the rights of the governing body. Still mindful of the ISSA initiative to protect the athletes, he came up with another suggestion to carry to their Lindsay Crescent headquarters. This, by his estimation, would not compromise the application of the new rules. In fact, it would ask ISSA to go a lot further.

Adrian's new thrust was to get ISSA to join with the USA collegiate programme in order to have our athletes protected once they accept scholarships to study overseas. The nation's athletes, competing indoors and outdoors abroad, and admittedly, not all from the high-quality barn, have been battered and bruised over the years. One can recall one of our best quarter-milers - a female - zeroing in on the gold medal at the World Championships of that year, as the world leader among those entered. She ended up out of the medals. A check on her season of competition prior, revealed that she had run over 120 races for her university.

Congratulations to Adrian, as finally, after vain attempts to score some points that have merit, he has finally succeeded.

How can ISSA make the claim that it has the athletes' best interests, while sitting by and not attempting to coerce its foreign counterparts along similar athlete-protection lines? Foster's Fairplay can almost predict the response - the foreign body and the college athletes are out of their jurisdiction.

That argument cannot let ISSA off the hook. The need is to liaise with the Jamaica Athletics Administrative Association (JAAA) and utilise its firm control on the money-spinning Penn Relays as a tool to achieve the suggested end.

Only then will it appear that it truly cares for the country's athletes.

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