Laurie Foster | That false-start problem
Another edition of the country's National Senior and Junior Track and Field Championships was staged last weekend at the National Stadium. There are complaints that speak to lack of competence and accountability in meet management by the organisers, the Jamaica Athletics Administrative Association (JAAA).
Any group that sees negative criticism of the JAAA as a necessary duty must, by now, be weary from engaging in that exercise.
Foster's Fairplay is no different. This is because of the lack of response from the governing body or a visible attempt to apply remedial action.
Protests have come from two top coaches of professional training camps, Glen Mills and Stephen Francis. Their responsibility during the period when Jamaica was sitting pretty atop the sprinting world included world record holders and global medallists like Usain Bolt, Asafa Powell, Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce and Elaine Thompson.
When coaches of this unquestionable quality lash out, it is time to apply the brakes and listen. They speak with the authority and experience of world-respected knowledge of the subject on which they comment.
What is hurtful is that the debacle with the start of the semi-finals of both women's and men's 100m last Friday is a repetition of the same exercise last year. It happened then with US collegiate athlete Jonielle Smith when she lined up at the trials for the 2017 London World Championships.
The major point of concern this time around rests with the seeming inconsistency in treatment of alleged false starts by Yohan Blake and Oshane Bailey. Regardless of what the problem was, it led to apparent disenchantment of the athletes, who were not a part of the indecision, not only in the race in question but those standing behind awaiting the following heat.
Kemar Bailey-Cole, in the contentious race, exited the scene having been ready to go for at least 20 minutes. Bear in mind, that he was on comeback after injury problems in the last few years.
Also, having to wait for what appeared to be an agonising period was another recuperating athlete, Jordan Forte, who managed to advance when the race eventually got going, but had his injury comeuppance at mid-race during the final, less than two hours after. Is this what our top athletes should expect when they attempt to qualify to represent their country? The JAAA should be busy trying to cauterise this problem, as the athletes are screaming out for some solution.
Foster's Fairplay's concern goes somewhat deeper than the false-start rules. There is a growing problem surrounding what happens to the country's young athletes between Penn Relays at the end of April and trials for regional and international competitions in mid-June. This is the year for the IAAF World Under-20 Championships, previously called the World Junior Championships. Two athletes whose lights shone brightly in the earlier period were nowhere to be seen come the time for global representation.
As a final point to be made, the JAAA should not have any difficulty in making the relevant contact to find out if there has been any approach to any of our young athletes from a foreign country. Surely, this would empower them to make a definitive statement as to what is happening with the two young athletes referred to above. Do they not believe that the matter is well within their jurisdiction, hence the need to pursue?
Will someone please tell Foster's Fairplay, what is the meaning of the term 'governing body'?
For feedback: email - firstname.lastname@example.org.