WITH all the hard work that Jamaican athletes put into representing their country, many times the very equipment and gear they need to do their jobs, that so often brings their country glory, go missing before it even reaches the athletes.
Racers Track Club coach Glen Mills said while the club is sometimes able to get tax breaks to import equipment for the University of the West Indies (UWI)-based outfit, they are oftentimes stolen during the importation process.
"We suffer a lot though because a lot of them are stolen at the point of entry and some of these shoes are shoes that are very technical. They have different things pinned into them to support the athletes' foot against injury and when they steal them they put the athletes at a great disadvantage because the ordinary shoes they cannot train in it, so these are specially made and they don't get them," Mills said.
This is in addition to the long process of importation.
"We do get tax breaks, but it is a very hazardous approach and a tedious one to get the documentation," Mills confirmed.
The MVP Track and Field Club is also based in Jamaica at the University of Technology (UTech). Club president Bruce James said while he could not recall any instance of goods imported by the club going missing, he has heard of such cases.
"From an MVP experience we haven't had that experience, but we have heard of instances of athletes complaining that their gear went missing," James said.
Meanwhile, Olympic Games double sprint silver medallist and 4x100m gold medallist Yohan Blake, when asked about his feeling about hard-working athletes losing their items through theft, was magnanimous in his outlook.
"Most of the times you have one foot of shoes and one foot is missing, but we're living in a society where everybody wants something and even if we say this and we say that, it's not going to stop. It's a society where we just have to give and take.
"I don't feel any way," he added. "If a next man wants a shoes I don't say he must steal it, but if he sees it and he likes it I have a lot of them and sometimes some don't have any. That's what I think.
"I like to help people so if he is a poor guy and he sees it and he likes it, you know, take it," Blake said.