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Watts rejects Francis' claims

Published:Thursday | August 20, 2015 | 12:00 AMAndre Lowe
Stephen Francis


Team manager Ludlow Watts has rejected Stephen Francis' arguments about the management of Jamaica's training camp ahead of the IAAF World Championships.

Francis questioned the usefulness of the camp and blamed the team's management for causing some of his and other athletes to miss several days of training and compromising their preparation, with the World Championships just around the corner.

The MVP Track Club coach said some athletes were given extremely difficult travel itineraries, which in some cases grossly extended what is a two-hour direct flight from Tottori to Beijing, while there were also issues at check-in at the team hotel in Beijing, with athletes waiting for hours before they were given keys to their rooms.

These were among the issues that irritated Francis, who didn't mince his words as he questioned the competence of the JAAA management group here, which is headed by Watts.

"These people obviously can't organise their way out of a garbage pan and they should leave it alone. Get some people who can do this properly, and I am sure there are people in Jamaica who can," Francis had said.

However, speaking to The Gleaner yesterday, Watts defended the travel arrangements made for transferring the athletes from Tottori in Japan, where the camp was based, and into Beijing for the championships itself and pointed to what he described as unavoidable delays experienced upon arrival at the team hotel.

"If there is a criticism - and I don't know where that is coming from, it would not be based on good judgement," Watts rebutted before establishing his assessment of the camp, which ended on Tuesday.




Watt, who also serves as treasurer for the Jamaica Athletics Administrative Association, insisted that the camp was a valuable exercise and believes it was the best the team has organised in recent times.

"Let me say that I am not 100 per cent satisfied with everything, but I believe we have made enough preparations to do well here," Watts stated.

"What I would say is this is the best camp we have had in history and we have had several. The feedback that we have had from the athletes, coaches, and management staff is that we have had a fantastic camp," said Watts yesterday. "I think the mood in the camp is generally good. Nothing is perfect, but the mood is generally good."

"I don't know if there was any difference from people travelling internationally, from Germany to France for instance. I think it was a normal transport arrangement, I think it was normal," said Watts in reference to the travel arrangement made for the athletes.

He also sought to explain the delays during the checking-in process at the team hotel in Beijing, noting that language issues and high traffic were the main reasons behind this.

"When you get into a hotel when you have 10 other teams and 1,000 people coming in and five teams coming in at the same time, it cannot be as smooth as people walking through the alley, but we are satisfied with what we did with the resources available and the circumstances," said Watts.

The Jamaicans are sharing a hotel with several other teams such as the United States.