Sun | Oct 1, 2023

Field events boon on the horizon for Jamaica

Published:Wednesday | March 15, 2023 | 1:12 AMRaymond Graham/Gleaner Writer
Lamara Distin, one of four winners for Jamaica at the NCAA Indoor Championships at the weekend.
Lamara Distin, one of four winners for Jamaica at the NCAA Indoor Championships at the weekend.

INTERNATIONALLY, JAMAICA’S athletes are known for exceptional performances on the track but over the past few years, field events athletes have stepped up to the plate and this was evident at last weekend’s NCAA Indoor Track and Field Championships, where the country’s athletes excelled.

Former Kingston College athletes Jaydon Hibbert and Carey McLeod, who represented the University of Arkansas; Romaine Beckford, formerly of Buff Bay High, who represented the University of South Florida; and Lamara Distin, formerly of Rusea’s High, Vere Technical and Hydel, who competed for Texas A&M University, created history, giving Jamaican athletes four wins in jumping events at the Championships.

In addition, former Edwin Allen High jumper, Ackelia Smith, representing the University of Texas, had two top-three finishes. There were also top-three placings for Cornwall College alumnus, Owayne Owens, who donned the colours of the University of Virginia. Former Kingston College jumper, Wayne Pinnock, competing for the University of Arkansas, just missed out on a top-three finish, ending fourth in the men’s long jump.

Kingston College and Edwin Allen High school jumper, Jeremy Delisser, who has turned out several outstanding athletes over the past 15 years, has credited better coaching locally and the input of the Garth Gayle-led Jamaica Athletics Administrative Association (JAAA) for the improvement in field events.

“Better coaching across the board. I am seeing a lot of good young coaches and also those from the old school, who are paying attention to the field events,” said Delisser.

“Definitely, the programme at GC Foster College is working. Athletes are also paying attention to the option of the field and seeing it as a viable option,” he continued.

Delisser also had high praises for the Garth Gayle-led JAAA for providing new direction in the area.

“The JAAA also has to be commended for giving the opportunity to the athletes to make teams, to travel and get exposure, which is fundamental even when they are not medal contenders, which I hope will continue. The athletes eyes are now open to possibilities, seeing outside of the box.”