Tue | Oct 27, 2020

Throw us some support! - Robinson stresses need for financial aid for local field disciplines

Published:Monday | October 28, 2019 | 12:00 AMHubert Lawrence/Gleaner Writer
Robinson
National discus thrower Traves Smikle competing in the qualifying round of the men’s discus throw event at the IAAF World Championships in Doha, Qatar, on Saturday, September 28, 2019.
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The Jamaican surge in the throwing events could hit the skids without financial support for athletes. That is a nagging worry for Julian Robinson, who coached Fedrick Dacres to a silver medal at the recent IAAF World Championships in Doh, Qatar.

“The concern that I have for most of the athletes is, are they going to have the assistance, the financial assistance, to do it, and if the financial assistance is there, I think the group of Jamaican throwers will compete at a higher level,” he worried.

Robinson says Jamaica has already lost the services of former national discus record holder Kellion Knibb and fellow discus thrower Tara-Sue Barnett because they lacked financial support once they had completed their US college scholarships.

“Already, we have lost out on a couple of our women athletes because the funding is not there. Kellion, quality, is no longer there, Tara-Sue, quality, she is no longer there,” he remarked on Knibb, 25, and Barnett, 26, who were teammates on the Jamaican Olympic team in 2016.

“Shadae Lawrence is a senior at university. She won’t be in university next year, where is the support going to come from?” he fretted about the final-year Colorado State University student athlete.

World Championship runners-up Dacres and Danniel Thomas-Dodd are exceptions.

“Fedrick and Danniel are okay, because they would be getting some sort of assistance from the shoe companies and they’re competing on the circuit, but Chad Wright, Traves [Smikle], his performance was such that he– that is Traves – is not going to have the financial assistance that he needs, and again, Lawrence,” lamented Robinson. Lawrence, the 2018 US collegiate champion, stretched Knibb’s national record to 65.05m this year.

Gratified

Still, Robinson is gratified by the surge led by Dacres and Thomas-Dodd.

“Based on what we’re seeing now, based on the fact that the athletes are getting more exposure, we’re getting more comfortable with that level. We should be able to continue at the level, and I’m not getting ahead of myself – based on what the athletes have done – and based on the persons who are competing, I believe they should be able to maintain or improve on this performance,” he said.

Robinson said it is easier for European throwers to operate at a high level.

“When they get to that level, there is usually more support from the country to help them to stay there,” he said, “so I believe we can do it, but I’d be more certain if I knew for a fact that financial support is going to be there for the throwers.”