THE EDITOR, Sir:
SPORTS HAs this undeniable thread which links a nation. I vividly remember Donald Quarrie's blistering run to win the 200 metres Olympic gold in 1976.
I remember the outpouring of joy unleashed by our people on that momentous victory. Those old enough to remember the exploits of Herb McKenley, George Rhoden, et al, can attest to the abovementioned fact.
So, it was with extreme pride that I witnessed the moment when Veronica Campbell crossed the line in that blanket finish. I am positive that her victory again made Jamaica proud at the World Championships. Dedicating her victory to the people of Jamaica, especially those ravished by Hurricane Dean, is gratuitous of her and shows her loyalty to our blessed isle.
Veronica is a true competitor. Her manner of victory showed her resilience, unlike Asafa Powell giving up at the end of his race the previous evening. Not wanting to sound stereotypical, Veronica's victory embodies the spirit of the Jamaican women. Against all odds she prevails.
I beg therefore to ask the question, are our women are more mentally prepared for 'battle' than our men? Why is it that our men seem to fall at the final hurdle?
Not mentally fit
Do not get me wrong, Asafa is a great athlete. But he has now shown on the big stage, where it matters most, that he is not mentally fit. Hearing the legend Michael Johnson describe Asafa as having given up towards the end of the race made me feel despondent.
Additionally, Asafa's pre-race preparation is clear evidence of the need for sports psychologists to play a greater role within our sports programmes, irrespective of the sport.
To compete on the world stage requires the necessary mental fortitude. All great teams stretching across the gamut of sports have excelled when there is the presence of a sports psychologist as part of their extended network.
So why are they not used more in our sports? It is well documented the exploits of Glenn McGrath, the nemesis of all batsmen.
In closing, it is clear that if Jamaicans are to dominate in their desired sports, the mental aspects need to be addressed as part of their preparation. Clearly we have the talent but that is not enough to excel.
Therefore, it is high time that we hone our talents by preparing the mental prowess of our sportsmen.
I am, etc.,
LAURENCE A. WOOLERY
Bilston Road, Gospel Oak