KINGSTON, Jamaica (CMC):
SPRINT powerhouse Jamaica is working on a plan to improve its medal prospects over the longer distances.
President of the Jamaica Athletics Administrative Association (JAAA), Dr Warren Blake, says discussions on developing a programme to carry out this plan are advanced with several countries, including Kenya.
While Jamaicans have been dominating sprints such as the 100 and 200 metres, Kenya and other east African athletes continue to reign supreme in the long distances.
Blake says an agreement in principle has been reached between Jamaica and Kenya following talks with the head of Kenya's Athletic Federation, Isaiah Kiplagat, on the sidelines of last month Olympic Games in London.
"I had a long discussion with him about a mutual assistance programme, about the possibility of Kenyan coaches coming to Jamaica to help with our middle and distance programme," Blake revealed on Hitz FM's Sports Grill Tuesday night.
"... And also our coaches going to Kenya to see how they operate and how they train their athletes, and also the question of exchange of athletes between the two countries. It's a work in progress and we have in fact exchanged letters since I have come back home to Jamaica."
Jamaica outshone arch-rivals United States to win an impressive 12 medals, mostly over the sprint events, at the Olympic Games in London.
In the meantime, the JAAA has reached an agreement with the University of Birmingham in England for a promising Jamaican high-school student-athlete to obtain a scholarship starting next year.
Jamaican athletes lived and trained at the University of Birmingham before moving into the Games Village for the Olympics.
"Specific criteria as to how this athlete will be selected will be worked out," disclosed Blake, who will be running for re-election as JAAA president in November. "But in the next academic year, a scholarship to study sports science will be offered to a Jamaican athlete."