KINGSTON, September 2010 Just over 62 years ago, Jamaica participated in its first Summer Olympic Games in London. This was after a 12-year break from the Games because of World War II. The last being in Berlin, where American Jesse Owen took the world by storm. Jamaica (with the Union Jack flag as its symbol) copped three medals - one gold and two silver. Arthur Wint won gold in the 400 metres and silver in the 800 metres; while Herb McKenley took silver in the 400 metres. Since then the country has participated in every Summer Games.
Fast forward to 2008 edition in Beijing where the country earned its most medals in the Games history - six gold, three silver and two bronze for a total of 11. What has been the constant throughout these years? The love for track and field, and so the Jamaica Olympic Association (JOA), Jamaica Amateur Athletic Association (JAAA) and its affiliates have made every effort to manage the sport.
As is customary in any business, the success has opened the doors of opportunity and the country has a glorious chance to create a dynamic club structure which fosters the growth and development of track and field. The two known and outstanding clubs are
- MVP led by Bruce James
- Racers led by Glen Mills
I know there are others around, but they need to be formalised and organised to absorb the ground swell of people/potential athletes who now seek to be trained and developed in Jamaica.
What has happened the burden is now on those two clubs and with hunt for medals on for 2011 (Daegu) and 2012 (London) - athletes have begun and will continue to search for a comfortable track and field home.
I am calling on the rest of the clubs to become formal and attract athletes and create a structure around them that will help them development. The templates are available and no need to re-invent the wheel. October/November is the start of the club year so there is time to get cracking. It would be a great way to support the sport of track and field we all love
What say you?