Don't burn out student athletes
THE EDITOR, Sir:
In reading Keith Noel's column, 'ISSA and 'Champs', on Thursday, May 10, 2012, I see his reasoning and rationale, but I, too, support ISSA that no athlete should do more than four events, two of which should be relays.
It is unfair and unreasonable to ask an athlete of that age to do races such as 400m, 800m and 1,500m heats plus finals over four days, or an athlete who does 1,500m, 3,000m steeplechase and 5,000m over four days. It explains why we cannot do well after Champs in these races.
I cannot see why an athlete who competes in a 4x100m relay should also do a 4x400m. It rarely happens at senior level, so why at junior?
Mr Noel can look at an Olympic or World Games schedule and he will see for these races there is at least a two-day rest.
The trap Noel has fallen into is typical of most Jamaicans. We only look at sprint events! Hence, this is precisely why we have not done well in middle and long distances as we 'overwork' the athletes in these events in too short a time, not allowing the body to rest and recover. They then become burnt out after high school.
Please also remind Mr Noel that heptathlon and decathlon events are only done over one round, during which the athlete is timed or measured so he or she does not have the burden of running heats, semi-finals and finals as in the sprint events.
Champs should last for at least five days, or alternatively for the middle- and long-distance races, have prequalifying rounds a week or so earlier to enable the athlete to recover for the start of the four-day championships, and perhaps just run a straight final, or at most, one round then a final.