Wat a gwaan between JAAA and MVP?
Published: Thursday | August 20, 2009
THE BEHAVIOUR of the Jamaica Amateur Athletic Association (JAAA) is baffling and makes us wonder wat a gwaan between JAAA and MVP (Maximising Velocity and Power) Club. The JAAA withdrew the withdrawal of athletes from competing in the Berlin World Athletics Championships. The original withdrawal was due to athletes from the MVP club missing a JAAA week-long training camp.
Last year, members of the MVP club missed the JAAA training camp and Jamaica had the best performance ever by a club and country at an Olympic Games. This suggests that a JAAA training camp is not compulsory for the country to perform well at a major athletic championship. The one week training camp should, therefore, be optional for persons who think it might be beneficial. Athletics, save for relays, is largely an individual sport. It is not like football and cricket that would benefit tremendously from a one week training camp. And even in International Football, the players do not have the luxury of a one-week training camp.
Sometimes training and coaching are overrated. Roger Federer, the greatest tennis player of all time, had his most successful year in 2004 when he had no coach. Bennett, former West Indies cricket coach said he had a different training regime for superstar Brian Lara. And so it should be. Some aspects of training must be tailor made. Usain Bolt has a unique way of preparing for his races and celebrating after his victory and that should not be taken away from him. Furthermore, training is not an exact science. Bolt trains four hours a day and runs 9.58 seconds in the 100m but it does not mean if another athlete trains for 6 hours a day then he will run faster than Bolt. Training must consider the athlete's make-up and the personal coach is usually the best person to identify those traits. Some athletes might benefit from a one week JAAA training camp while someone might not. Therefore, let it be optional.
And the JAAA should be happy that MVP can pay for its own camp because it saves the JAAA some money.
In addition, even if it was a 'crime' to miss a one week JAAA training camp the punishment of withdrawing the offending athletes from the World Championships was too harsh. Fining them a portion of the salary that JAAA is paying the athletes would be more appropriate.
Calls into question
Athletes train for months in preparation for a major championship and to withdraw them for such a minor offence calls into question whether the JAAA has the welfare of the athletes and country at heart. We need to ensure that every thing is done to help athletes perform to the best of their ability. Every rule ought to be beneficial to the progress of the athletes. At least the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) is willing to change unfair rules to athletes, notably the false start rule.
It is further disappointing to understand that it is the IAAF that pressured the members of the JAAA to change their minds. The Jamaican sporting public should have revolted against the overreaction by the JAAA. It is clear that the IAAF seems to be interested in its showpiece (the championships) and the adverse effect of losing the stars, but would they have intervened if it were inferior athletes who were at the centre of the controversy between the JAAA and the MPV club? Jamaicans must object based on a higher principle of what is fair for athletes.
What is the way forward? There needs to be a mediator between the JAAA and the MVP. I suggest professor the honourable Errol Morrison, president of the University of Technology. He is astute and articulate. He is well respected by both parties. He is the chairman of the Jamaica Anti-Doping Commission (JADCO) a related sporting organisation and The MVP club trains at UTech.
The parties must move on in the interest of the athletes and Jamaica's athletics. A dat mus gwaan.