JAAA disappoints national junior shot put champ
Immaculate Conception High School assistant track and field coach Floyd Quarrie has said that he is very disappointed that his shot putter Kadian Clarke was not selected by the Jamaica Athletics Administrative Association (JAAA) in Jamaica's team to the Junior Pan American/NACAC Under-20 Games to be held in Trujillo, Peru, from July 21 to 23. Clarke surpassed the qualifying distance of 13.70m when she won the shot put event at the JAAA's National Junior Athletics Championships Trials with a throw of 13.86m last month. However, no female shot putter was named in the team. Quarrie said that this has left his athlete distraught.
"She messaged me, torn up about it, because this is something that she's always wanted," he said. "She set her goal in terms of achieving a medal at Championships, and the next step was to make the team. She made the sacrifices trained during exams and finally got what it takes. To see the list being put out and her name not being on it left her very cut up and disappointed about it. It's like she got the rug swept from under her feet."
Quarrie said that he and Immaculate head coach Franz Forde spoke to the JAAA's athletes representative, Michael Frater, who sought to justify Clarke's exclusion.
"He outlined that there are times when they make these sort of cutbacks, whether it be on a financial basis. I guess it's a case where they don't feel like they're going to be medal contenders and I guess if she's competing in just one event, they'll be liable to cut that person from the team," Quarrie added.
Quarrie said that the JAAA made the wrong decision because Clarke is someone who always gives her best performances on what he describes as big occasions.
"She's a big-event competitor," he said. "Her best throws are always at championships, and, as seen, at Trials. That's where she really puts out. She's also the captain of the (Immaculate) team, so you can tell that she has the focus and readiness to lead the team. Her attitude when it comes to Championships, she is that type of athlete."
He added that the most upsetting thing to him was that he believes that the JAAA was not professional in how it handled the situation as he said that given that Clarke had won her event, someone could have contacted them to let them know of the decision not to include her in the team.
"It is just about communication. If she was updated before the list was put out, it would have eased the blow," Quarrie said.
The Gleaner spoke to the head of the JAAA's selection committee, Garth Gayle, about the issue. Gayle, who made it clear that he was reluctant to speak to the media, said that Clarke's performance at the National Junior Championships was not sufficient enough to meet favour with the selection committee.