Blake hails hurdlers
Jamaica has enjoyed an Indian summer, in the hurdling events this season and Dr Warren Blake, the president of the Jamaica Athletics Administrative Association, is delighted. He believes that the success seen in recent seasons and in 2018 are partly due to coaching and a natural fit between hurdling and the sprinting ability that Jamaicans possess.
At the Commonwealth Games, Ronald Levy and Hansle Parchment went one-two, with World Under-18 winner De'Jour Russell also in the 110 metre hurdles final, while Danielle Williams and Yanique Thompson took second and third place in the 100 metres hurdles. Janieve Russell took gold in the 400 metre hurdles, with Jaheel Hyde third in the men's event.
In addition to Thomas and Bennett taking the top two places in the 110 metres hurdles at the World Under-20 Championships, World Under-18 champion Brittany Anderson narrowly missed the gold in the 100 metres hurdles, and Shian Salmon was the runner-up in the 400 metres hurdles.
"It's really quite good," Blake said last Friday. "With the sprinting ability of Jamaica's athletes, if they got exposed to hurdles, it was only natural that they would translate that ability to sprinting over the hurdles, and we have done quite well."
One of the hurdling highlights came at the National Championships last month when Damion Thomas equalled the four-year-old world Under-20 record of 12.99 seconds with two-time Carifta champion Orlando Bennett close at 13.00. Blake noted, "Then it was translated at the Under-20 Championships into gold and silver by the same two athletes in the same order."
The JAAA president praised the athletes and the coaches involved. Speaking specifically about the coaches, he said: "Most of them have been gone through G.C. Foster College, and we have ensured that they get training to Level 5 at the IAAF."
He also said that hurdles had been distributed to some schools to stimulate development.
"Over the years, we've have also been able to get some hurdles to distribute to some more non-traditional schools," said Blake. Those hurdles came from a partnership with Japan, and more could be on the way.
"We have spoken to the Sports Development Foundation," he continued, "and it is my understanding that they are going to be acquiring some hurdles to distribute to other schools to accelerate the deepening of the hurdles spirit in Jamaica. We figure that if they have hurdles and have the coaching expertise, we can have greater success in hurdles."