A blessed experience - Clarke
André Lowe, Senior Staff Reporter
Long-time Calabar High School coach Michael Clarke said that he feels honoured, following his selection as head coach for Jamaica's team to this summer's IAAF World Championships of Athletics in Moscow.
Clarke, who has led the Red Hills Road school to four national titles in his 11-year reign, brings to the job a wealth of experience, having served as assistant national coach during the 2000 (Sydney) and 2008 (Beijing) Olympic games. He has also been to the IAAF World Championships as a member of the team's coaching panel on several occasions.
"It is always a pleasure to represent your country and when you get a responsibility of this magnitude, it's a very humbling and blessed experience," Clarke told The Gleaner.
"It is something that I look forward to and something that I am looking to give the best that I can and hope for the support of all the persons involved."
Clarke replaces Maurice Wilson, who led Jamaica's teams to the last three senior international championships - the 2010 Commonwealth Games in Delhi, the 2011 IAAF World Championships in Athletics in Daegu and last year's Olympic Games in London.
"I was head coach at the Under-23 level once or twice, but I have been assistant coach to two Olympic games and also to a number of World Championships as well," Clarke noted.
"This assignment certainly will be the same in respect of what is expected to be done and it will be another exciting experience, one that I look forward to and one that I will cherish," he added.
In spite of his experience and what is expected to be another strong Jamaican squad, Clarke is anticipating this year's championships to be among the toughest yet, but believes the country should do well.
"As always, the competition from the other countries, especially in the sprinting arena, is always going to be very keen and competitive and this, like all the others before, promises to be just the same or even more competitive.
"Based on the quality that has been displayed over the last couple days at the National Trials, the athletes will be ready and it augurs well for another exciting Championships for us," Clarke added.