Life after track
JAAA boss concerned over athletes missing professional opportunities
PRESIDENT OF the Jamaica Athletics Administrative Association (JAAA), Garth Gayle, is imploring Jamaican track and field athletes who have ended the competitive aspect of their careers to take up other areas within the sport that can prove fruitful...
PRESIDENT OF the Jamaica Athletics Administrative Association (JAAA), Garth Gayle, is imploring Jamaican track and field athletes who have ended the competitive aspect of their careers to take up other areas within the sport that can prove fruitful for the rest of their lives.
Gayle, in an interview with The Sunday Gleaner, expressed concerns with the number of Jamaican athletes who have failed to transition from being successful junior athletes to the professional ranks and have lost their appetite for track and field.
The JAAA president opines that these athletes, similarly to those who have retired at the top of the sport, can look to becoming professionals in track and field, citing examples like agents, managers, and coaches.
He emphasised the need for junior athletes to stay focused on academics so they are in position to grasp these opportunities.
“There are opportunities and avenues, for instance, and that is why an athlete needs to be encouraged to do well at school as well as they do on the track, because of life after track.
“An athlete that understands a balance between the dedication to training and the dedication of doing their schoolwork, their options and opportunities to go on to college to further their education, while doing the sport that they love, is at an advantage,” Gayle said.
Several of Jamaica’s top track and field athletes have successfully transitioned to other areas of the sport recently. These include Juliet Campbell, Michael Frater, husband and wife team Davian Clarke and Lacena Golding-Clarke and Marvin Anderson.
Frater, who won multiple gold medals as a member of Jamaica’s 4x100 metres teams to the Olympic Games, World Championships and Commonwealth Games, is a founding member of Titans International Track Club, where he is among the coaching panel.
Former long jumper, Golding-Clarke, is the coach of World Championships 100-metre hurdles winner and world record holder, Tobi Amusan, and former sprinter Marvin Anderson is the owner of Andi Sports Management and is the agent for two-time double Olympic Games gold medallist, Elaine Thompson Herah.
Campbell, a former 200 and 400-metre competitor, is a regional sports marketing manager with PUMA, while Clarke, a former 400-metre representative for Jamaica, is a coach on the United States of America (USA) collegiate circuit.
These individuals went to universities in the United States on scholarships, which Gayle believes athletes at the high school level should seek to emulate. He stated that the JAAA will continue to encourage and support junior athletes for successful careers in track and field.
“We (Jamaica) continue to produce, but the area of concern for me would be those (athletes) that we are losing, who don’t continue into the elite professional level, because they would have lost interest.
“We would want to ensure that as they move through the junior ranks, they understand we can have them enjoy the sport, and would want to see them continue and do well, because track and field can be, and is, a professional opportunity of earning, for many of our athletes,” Gayle said.
According to Gayle, Jamaica’s most outstanding athlete ever, Usain Bolt, was successful at tying all aspects of the sport, through his performances on and off the track, into one major brand for all to earn substantially. These include his coaches, managers, agents, sponsors and international shoe company – Puma.