Tue | Oct 22, 2019

Fix the relay situation –Wilson

Published:Tuesday | September 24, 2019 | 12:31 AMAndrÈ Lowe/Sports Editor
Maurice Wilson, head coach of Jamaica’s team in Doha.
Maurice Wilson, head coach of Jamaica’s team in Doha.

DOHA, Qatar:

Head coach of Jamaica’s team to the 2019 IAAF World Championships Maurice Wilson is calling for greater collaboration where relay practice is concerned.

Wilson lamented the continued issue of key athletes being unavailable for relay training and the lack of greater opportunities to work on technical improvements while urging the Jamaica Athletics Administrative Association (JAAA) and its stakeholders to find an urgent solution going forward.

“One of the things I want to say publicly is that we really need to fix this relay situation because when you look at some of the other teams and you see the top athletes in the world practising, then we need to fix our situation, and I am quite sure this is something the JAAA will be looking at,” said Wilson.

Several members of the relay pool were missing yesterday evening as members of the various relay teams went through baton-exchange drills at the Suheim bin Hamad Stadium inside the Qatar Sports Club in Doha.

A clearly frustrated Wilson underlined the value of enough opportunities to practise ahead of a major championship, noting that the dynamic of a pre-championships camp in itself does not provide the best opportunity for relay training.

FIXED COMMITMENTS

JAAA president Dr Warren Blake a few weeks ago outlined that the association was making arrangements to submit relay teams to compete at a Diamond League meet as part of their preparation for the World Championships, but that never materialised.

“We have been talking about it every year, but we need that sort of commitment from all parties involved to make sure that is fixed,” said Wilson.

“This cannot be fixed in a training camp alone; it will take much more. A camp may be seven days, and some of these athletes have individual events, so for them to practise, they will get only about two days for relays, which is still not good enough,” added the veteran coach.

Wilson noted that with several of the standout relay performers from the past decade and more no longer being part of the team, the need is greater than ever for strong technical execution, which he underlined can only be achieved through constant practise.

“This is a concentrated effort, which takes a period of time for perfection to occur, and we need to focus on it some more because we do not necessarily have the same sort of leg speed that we had when we were breaking world records and so on,” Wilson stated.

Jamaica’s relay teams have registered some less-than-impressive performances in recent times.

The women’s sprint relay team, which won consecutive gold medals at the 2013 and 2015 World Championships, could only manage a third-place finish at the London 2017 championships and required a face-saving recovery run from Jonielle Smith at the World Relays earlier this year to rescue second place.

Also at the World Relays this year, the men’s 4x100m team finished in sixth place and will begin their campaign here with only one sub-10 sprinter in their ranks this season in Yohan Blake.

The women’s 4x400m relay team ended fifth at the World Relays, while the men finished in a commendable second place.

Jamaica will field teams in the men’s and women’s 4x100m and 4x400m, as well as the mixed 4x400m relays here in Doha.

andre.lowe@gleanerjm.com