Dalton Myers | Saluting coach Julian Robinson
Most of us are focused on the FIFA World Cup; by tomorrow we will know the 2018 champions. While the World Cup draws to an end, today marks the start of the inaugural two-day Athletics World Cup in London, and of course the stage will be set for Jamaica's athletes to perform. However, I want to focus on a coach, and the contribution he has made over the past decade and a half.
Throws coach Julian Robinson deserves all the accolades that are coming his way. Currently, Robinson has proven to Jamaica and the world that you can train Jamaican student-athletes, locally, using a locally-based coach to be world beaters in discus, shot put, javelin etc. That is what he has done with Traves Smikle and Fedrick Dacres especially in a discipline that is usually dominated by Europeans. The Calabar High School and University of the West Indies alumnus has racked up quite a reputation for creating champions over the course of his coaching career. He is an IAAF Level 5 and USATF Level 3 certified coach, and currently holds Bachelor of Science degrees in Electrical and Computer Engineering as well as Mathematics and Electronics; and a Master's degree in Digital Technology.
Over the years, he has coached several athletes to become champions and record holders at various levels. At the junior level, he has been successful in helping his charges win at the ISSA Boys and Girls' Championships, CARIFTA Games, IAAF World Juniors and World Youth. These include Noel Facey, Ashinia Miller, Chad Wright, Traves Smikle, Fedrick Dacres, Basil Bingham, among others. At the senior level, he has had successes at NACAC, Central American and Caribbean Games and Commonwealth Games, with Smikle and Dacres developing into his two main seniors competing at London Olympics and World Championship respectively. Smikle is a former national champion and record holder while Dacres currently holds both of those titles.
A fantastic job
Robinson has done a fantastic job in an environment where it's difficult to find throwing circles, much less proper throwing implements and footwear for youngsters. I commend him for the dedication and commitment shown to not just Calabar but also to the national programme. While he was not the personal coach of some athletes at the 2018 Commonwealth Games, I was impressed with the work he did, providing advice to other field event athletes such as Danielle Thomas-Dodd on route to her record-breaking performance.
Robinson, who started coaching in the 2005/2006 season after completing academic studies, says he just wanted to give back to his alma mater, Calabar and asked to volunteer. He never dreamed he would reach this level at this point, as his efforts were to gradually improve the school's throwing programme which then transitioned into improving the national programme. If you ever talk to him, you cannot help but notice his love for his athletes; him wanting them to get an education, as well as encouraging them to believe in themselves. The husband and father of two is passionate about his work and believes that the next stars can come from people like Isheka Binns, Basil Bingham and Kai Chang who have been working with him.
Robinson's hope is that he can use sports and education to help his athletes gain a better life for themselves and their families. One would think at least one of them is on his way. Dacres currently leads the discus Diamond League series, being a force to be reckoned with in all his competitions so far; and this is after capturing the Commonwealth Gold medal in a new games record of 68.20m. I am sure both Robinson and Dacres are looking for a good performance at the Athletics World Cup and a strong finish to this season.
He told me the journey has been a rough one; just a few years ago Smikle had to deal with returning an adverse analytical finding, while Dacres had to bounce back from a surgery due to a serious knee injury. However, Robinson believes in trusting the process.
I laud Robinson for the work that he has done and encourage him to continue the good work. Hopefully, we will soon see grooming multiple Olympic and World champions being added to his many accolades.
- Dalton Myers is a sports consultant and administrator. Email feedback to firstname.lastname@example.org