Focus more on college sports, say administrators
Jermaine Lannaman, Gleaner Writer
A number of the country's top tertiary-level sports administrators are calling for more attention to be placed on their sector, as they believe the area is one of the main reasons Jamaica has been doing so well on the international stage, especially in sprints.
Speaking at The Gleaner's recent Daegu to London Editors' Forum, held at the company's central Kingston offices on Tuesday, Dr Colin Gyles, dean of the Faculty of Science and Sports at the University of Technology (UTech), pointed to a scientific approach to coaching via the collegiate sports system.
"Our performances in recent years are not by chance as, in addition to other factors, such as natural talent and competitive age-group competitions, the role that university sports is playing as it relates to a more scientific approach to acquiring performances ought to be taken into consideration," said Gyles.
"This (a strong collegiate sports system) is the case in many developed countries and, in recent years, we here in Jamaica are catching on, beginning with the G.C. Foster and UTech, and of late the UWI (University of the West Indies), The Mico University (College) and others," he added.
Fitz Coleman, a former coach of Olympic double sprint champion, Usain Bolt, and who was one of the first coaches involved with the IAAF's High Performance Centre in the country, while agreeing with Gyles, went a step further in calling on corporate Jamaica, the media and other entities to step up and support the sector.
"The transfer of a strong high-school football tradition into a strong and competitive national club system was a result of a partnership involving corporate Jamaica and the media.
"Both entities helped to raise the profile of club football, and if tertiary athletics, or tertiary sports is to advance, a similar partnership needs to be forged," Coleman said.
"Another person who sang similar sentiments to Gyles and Coleman was Anthony Davis, sports director at UTech.
"The Sports Development Foundation is now giving intercollegiate sports an annual grant. They also helped us with the preparation and the sending of our largest team to the World University Games," said Davis.
"So the Government to an extent understands, and is playing a role. It is just for the country to recognise the importance of collegiate sports, and play a part in helping to strengthen the sector," he declared.