Friday, August 1, 2008

Francis needs to be tamed…

The concept of the MVP Track Club, home of Asafa Powell, Nesta Carter and Sherone Simpson is a welcome addition to the track and field fraternity in Jamaica. The MVP unit has been responsible for producing home-grown talent and the track and field fraternity is better positioned now more than ever.

For too many years, Jamaican athletes got grooming from primarily the American system but just over a decade ago, the country has been able to recognise the value of having physical and technical infrastructure which enables growth and development for the local talent.

So now are not only able to unearth the talent, we are also able to prepare them on our own for international recognition and continued success. We have also added to the list of opportunities for performances by hosting IAAF sanctioned meets that other international stars look forward to competing in.

While we laud head coach, Stephen Francis for his abilities, we are not in support of him maligning the integrity of a system he learnt from. His recent outbursts have been uncalled for and also baseless. I care not about his personal feelings about the personnel in the JAAA or the JOA; but there are standards which we must uphold.

Calling his colleagues “a bunch of high school coaches who do not know what they are doing” is out of order. Considering his early days in coaching was spent learning at the feet of Glen Mills. Mills has had success under his belt for some three decades, being responsible for athletes like Donald Quarrie, Raymond Stewart, Kim Collins, Carey Johnson, Garfield Campbell and now Usain Bolt. If I were to be bold and I will, while Aleen Bailey was with coach Mills, she has her better days.

Francis must and should show respect for his country and the system, and if he has suggestions for their improvement, put them in perspective and put the recommendations where they belong; not in the media.

Jamaica is now in the spotlight, not Stephen Francis and he must be brought to abide by the rules as set by governing bodies. The rules cannot be different for one set of athletes from the other. This would be a recipe for disaster.

Let us not be distracted from the task at hand and go after the best performance we could muster up for the 2008 Summer Olympic Games. Deal with the issues after and fix them appropriately.

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