André Lowe, Senior Staff Reporter
President of the Jamaica Athletics Administrative Association (JAAA), Dr Warren Blake, has welcomed the start of the 2013 track and field season and is looking to push forward the organisation's development plan in the coming months.
The JAAA boss also took time out to pay homage to former Kingston College physical trainer, William 'Youngster' Goldsmith, who passed away Saturday morning.
Blake, who was present at the JC/Wata meet - the traditional season opener - said his administration will be focusing on developing the island's distance and field-events coaching expertise, with the view of improving results on the highest stage.
"I'm hoping that we will continue to grow from the successes of 2012 and that in 2013 we will be just as successful, if not even more successful," Blake told The Gleaner.
"We have already seen some great performances this early in the season and it's a good sign."
Jamaica had its best ever championship year in 2012 with a record 12 medals at the Olympic Games, highlighting a year that also saw four throwers qualifying for the showpiece event in London.
Blake is hoping this year the JAAA will be able to provide the technical support needed to further develop the island's cadre of throwing coaches and athletes, as well as encourage better performances at the longer distances.
"As you know, I have been working on some coaching exchanges and I will be trying to get at least the exchange with Kenya off the ground. They have responded and have named one of their top long-distance coaches to come to Jamaica, so it's just for us to work out the logistics of the transfer of coaches between us and them," said Blake.
"We are hoping our coaches will pick up pointers to, at least, give us a few finalists in the distance events in the near future. I am hoping we can widen our scope beyond the short sprints," Blake added.
"For the throwing events, three of our top coaches are overseas upgrading their skills, and the programme is going to be predicated on improving the coaches so that they can spot the talent and hone it even better for the years to come," said Blake.
Noted field-events coach Julian Robinson, Michael Vassell and Orville Byfield were recently facilitated to an elite throws and jumps course at the United States Olympic Committee (USOC) training centre in California.
Blake also took the opportunity to comment on the passing of Goldsmith, who was also a former featherweight champion of Jamaica, noted for introducing weights programmes in high school track and field.
"We are saddened by the news of the passing of Mr Youngster Goldsmith. He was one of those who trained us all back in the 60s and 70s when KC was on top of the game.
"It was his coming to Kingston College and introducing the weights programme to schools that really marked a new era in track and field in Jamaica, and the basis of what he did at the school propelled Kingston College to the longest unbeaten run in schoolboy history," said Blake, referring to KC's 14-year win streak at Boys' Championships from 1962 to 1975.