André Lowe, Senior Staff Reporter
Long recognised as a statesman on the track, reliable Jamaican sprinter, Michael Frater, is hoping to have an impact off the track as well, as he presents himself for a vice-president spot on the next Jamaica Athletics Administrative Association (JAAA) administration.
Frater, a 2005 IAAF World Championships 100m silver medallist, was officially introduced as the candidate for the JAAA third vice-president position on incumbent president Dr Warren Blake's slate during a launch event at The Knutsford Court Hotel last Saturday.
The male captain of Jamaica's historic London Olympics team a few months ago and a key member of the country's dominating 4x100m team since 2008, Frater said he is hoping to get a chance to give the athletes a real voice on the JAAA executive and downplayed any notion of a conflict of interest.
A voice for athletes
"I don't think there is any conflict. I think this is where we (active athletes) actually have a voice. When you look at the JAAA over the years, it has always been former athletes who are finished with the sport for years or officials who have been there for a while, so this is a first and I am very happy for the opportunity to try and represent directly for the athletes that we have competing right now," Frater told The Gleaner.
"For me, it's a very exciting opportunity. This is basically my way of giving back to the athletic fraternity for what it has done for me," said Frater, who listed athletes' welfare as the area that he will focus on if given the nod by the over 300 JAAA members at the November 29 election.
"For me, the development of the welfare commission for the athletes - simple things like a pension plan for the athletes. There is no such thing for them to have some type of income when they retire from the sport, and also the medical insurance," Frater said. "Any athlete will tell you that the most expensive thing for a professional athlete is medical. If, for instance, you have a serious injury that requires surgery, that can cost millions, so it's important for me that we develop programmes like that which will benefit the athletes."
Frater said that he was drawn to the Blake camp after discussing the incumbent's vision for the JAAA and that the reception from his peers has been very encouraging.
"The reception has been great. Everyone is looking forward to having an athlete represent them. Most of the athletes are excited that I am on board, but they are also looking at the programmes being brought forward by each team. For me, Dr Warren Blake has brought forward a programme that I think will be beneficial for the country on a whole and the individual athletes," Frater noted.