Wed | Nov 30, 2022

Jamaican coaches are world class - Lennox Graham

Published:Monday | September 26, 2022 | 12:09 AMHubert Lawrence/Gleaner Writer
Lennox Graham
Lennox Graham
Janieve Russell
Janieve Russell
Rasheed Broadbell
Rasheed Broadbell
World100 metres hurdles record holder Tobi Amusan of Nigeria.World100 metres hurdles record holder Tobi Amusan of Nigeria.
World100 metres hurdles record holder Tobi Amusan of Nigeria.World100 metres hurdles record holder Tobi Amusan of Nigeria.
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Tobi Amusan of Nigeria; the Jamaicans, Rasheed Broadbell and Janieve Russell; and Kyron McMaster of the British Virgin Islands have two things in common; all four were winners in hurdling events at the Commonwealth Games in Birmingham, and all...

Tobi Amusan of Nigeria; the Jamaicans, Rasheed Broadbell and Janieve Russell; and Kyron McMaster of the British Virgin Islands have two things in common; all four were winners in hurdling events at the Commonwealth Games in Birmingham, and all four have Jamaican coaches.

The same thing happened at the 2018 Commonwealth Games with Jamaican coaches tutoring all four hurdles gold medal winners. Lennox Graham, who has now guided McMaster to two Commonwealth titles explained why; Jamaican coaches are world-class.

“The expertise in coaching that we have is world-class across the board,” he asserted. “At one time, we were talking about all the global 100 metres titles were held by Jamaicans,” he recalled, “and we would have said at the time, Jamaican coaches were behind all of that. Now it’s about a different discipline and so it’s just a testament to the fact that we do such a great job as Jamaicans in producing great athletes and that it is often overlooked that we often do a great job in producing great coaches.”

Amusan, the 100-metre hurdler, and McMaster and Russell, who run the 400 hurdles, all won in 2018 with Ronald Levy preceding Broadbell as the 110m hurdles champion. Jamaica’s 2002 Commonwealth 100-metre hurdles queen, Lacena Golding-Clarke, coaches Amusan, and the 2006 winner Brigitte Foster-Hylton coaches Russell and Levy.

ABSOLUTE BEST

Delving more deeply into the matter, Graham argued, “I think it just comes from the Jamaicans’ unwritten motto that says, ‘we likkle but we tallawah’. It’s just something that whatever we do, we try to be the best at it, the absolute best or, at worst, among the best to ever do it.”

The Clemson University hurdles coach believes the motivation is a product of our history. “So we had a certain determination, drive and pride that go everywhere with us,” Graham underscored.

Foster-Hylton herself was coached by Stephen Francis to World Championship gold in 2009, a feat Danielle Williams matched in 2015 with Graham directing her. Last year, coaching by Fitz Coleman helped Hansle Parchment to the Olympic gold in the 110m hurdles.

“I think the seeds were planted centuries ago,” Graham added, “And if you know your history, you know where you’re coming from.”

Williams greeted Amusan with a hug after the Nigerian had lowered the world record to 12.12 seconds in their World Championship semifinal in July. “It warmed my heart because I remember not too long ago, I think it was 2019 in Brussels, when Tobi was charged with a false start and I think Danielle won that race and when I went back to the warm-up track, I saw Tobi. She was just inconsolable, tears, she was bawling,” he recalled.

“So, nobody understands the turmoil, the heartaches,” he continued with reference to Amusan’s close fourth place finishes at the 2019 World Championships and at the Olympics last year. “So I was so happy for her,” he said.