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Jamaica needs vibrant clubs (so do we!)

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1Jamaica needs vibrant clubs (so do we!) Empty Jamaica needs vibrant clubs (so do we!) Wed Sep 22, 2010 1:48 pm



Jamaica needs vibrant clubs (so do we!) Glen_Mills-Usain_Bolt
Glen Mills (right) and Usain Bolt.

Jamaica needs stronger club structure
By Carole Beckford, Sport Management Consultant and Publicist.
Tuesday, 21 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?

#1 TrackAddict
21 September 2010
Like PNP and JLP there's Racers and MVP with the others being independent but with help from corporate Jamaica the others can flourish just the same otherwise they will just stay in the shadows.

#2 Rohan Nugent
21 September 2010
I agree with the article, however, it is evident that sponsorship will be needed to ensure that the club keeps up to it's billing. It takes much and I realize that they are many pioneers who would loved to have effective results as MVP and Racers do- but the demands can be burdensome. Especially when the athlete is not an elite which will see a sponsor coming on board to assist with supplements, gears etc.

Why not advocate for the wealthy Jamaicans to invest in some of these clubs that are not as well known as the popular two and then maybe it will happen. Money talks and although I beleive that one should take a risk to see if it will happen ... let's face it your still going to need help. So intead of taking the stand to tell the other clubs to begin - adovacate for sponsorship from the weathly Jamaicans to assist these clubs and clearly it would be a win, win situation.



The way athletics is set up in Australia, the clubs are the lifeblood of the sport. Without a vibrant solid club structure, supported and encouraged by the controlling organisation (Athletics South Australia), the sport will always struggle.

In my view, as a person who has been heavily involved in the amateur club system in SA for the past decade, ASA has not provided the support structure nor demonstrated the leadership to allow clubs to flourish. There seems no commitment to a strong club based competition that encourages athletes to compete and remain loyal to a club.

ASA meanders from year to year with a club competition that lacks initiative and inspiration. Without worthwhile rewards and something to encourage club pride, ASA offers little incentive to club personnel to devote the time to organise teams.

I notice that after about 8 years of building something to aspire to, the one true Club based competition - the Club Challenge, that instilled some club pride has been removed from the calendar.

As clubs have basically become irrelevant to ASA, apart from being a source of funds via the $660 each club pays to a member club, there's little incentive for athletes to register with a club.

Had there been some foresight (some time ago) used and a strong club based competition structure been put in place, it would have provided the inspiration and motivation for club personnel to chase up & register athletes.

As it is, with no decent track to compete on until March, there's little incentive for athletes to register with ASA. I think ASA is going to take a significant hit in terms of registrations this summer.

They've only got themselves to blame.

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