Mon | Sep 20, 2021

Wilson approves of next-gen coaches

Published:Wednesday | July 28, 2021 | 12:11 AMAndrÈ Lowe/Gleaner Writer
Akimbo on the double: Head coach Maurice Wilson and 400m hurdler Ronda Whyte are seen at the warm-up track at the Tokyo Olympic Stadium on Monday.
Akimbo on the double: Head coach Maurice Wilson and 400m hurdler Ronda Whyte are seen at the warm-up track at the Tokyo Olympic Stadium on Monday.

TOKYO, Japan: Head coach of Jamaica’s track and field team at the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games, Maurice Wilson, issued a passing grade to the country’s upcoming senior level coaches and believes that the island’s athletics future is in good hands....

TOKYO, Japan:

Head coach of Jamaica’s track and field team at the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games, Maurice Wilson, issued a passing grade to the country’s upcoming senior level coaches and believes that the island’s athletics future is in good hands.

Wilson, who has either led or been a member of coaching panels at major championships in the capacities of coach, head coach and technical leader for well over a decade, including the country’s most successful medal period, which started in 2008, pointed out that it was important that the country continues to develop high-quality coaches, if the current high level of performances from the island’s athletes is to continue.

He noted that he is encouraged by the quality of the existing cohort of young coaches in Jamaica, particularly at the senior level and said that it was important that they be given a chance to develop and contribute to the programme.

Wilson is joined in Tokyo by MVP Track Club’s coaching scholar Paul Francis, the well travelled and experienced Jerry Holness, throws guru Julian Robinson and impressive young coaches Reynaldo Walcott, who coaches Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce, and Gregory Little, the man in charge of Yohan Blake, Jevaughn Minzie and several others, such as Jazeel Murphy, who have shown significant improvements this season.

A LEADING COACH

Though listed as a massage therapist for the Jamaican team, Okeile Stewart has also developed into a leading local coach, while Kerry-Lee Ricketts, who conditions triple jump star Shanieka Ricketts and Tissanna Hickling, and MVP’s Shawnterry Manboard are in Tokyo as personal coaches.

“Separate and apart from the fact that I am a coach, I am also an educator and so I understand what transition means,” said Wilson, the acting principal at the GC Foster College of Physical Education and Sports.

“I have always championed the cause of having persons replace others as we move on and so we have a cadre of young coaches here that I think have exceptional talent, but not only that, they have been coaching at the senior level,” added Wilson, who wrote the book Sprinting the Jamaican Way.

Wilson noted that a distinction must be made about coaching at the junior and senior levels and backs the current crop of upcoming coaches to play major roles in the development of Jamaica’s talent in the sport, for years to come.

“Persons need to understand that it doesn’t mean that because you coach at a particular level and you are successful, that it qualifies you instantly for another level.

“When you coach at the senior level, you make certain sacrifices that are beyond the norm in terms of finances, time; in terms of not being in the paper every single week in comparison to other coaches, who coach from January to Penn Relays and they are in the paper every single week,” Wilson stated.

“These are coaches who make sacrifices behind the scenes to get persons to represent Jamaica at the highest level internationally and so we have to look at these persons.

“I am very confident that the persons we have in front of us now will be there for the next couple of years in terms of transition and we will continue to encourage other coaches but I am very happy with the team that we have here,” said Wilson.

When asked about the absence of a specialist coach for the jumps, Wilson responded: “I have made my points very clear over a number of weeks before we came into these championships so there is not much more that I can say. We are here now and we just have to work with what we have. It was made clear by the officials that there were certain numbers involved and we looked at what we had in front of us and made some decisions. I can’t speak to that any more, that is behind us now.”

Track and field competition is set to start at the Tokyo International Stadium on Friday at 9 a.m. (Thursday 7 a.m. Jamaica time).