Mullings ban 'sad day in Jamaica's track and field history'

BY PAUL A REID Observer writer

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

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Yesterday's life time ban from track and field handed down to Jamaica's sprinter Steve Mullings is being viewed as "a really sad day in Jamaica's track and field history".

Jamaican Jerry Holness, who is currently the head coach for the United Arab Emirates, told the Observer last night, the decision will cast a negative light on Jamaica's track and field. "This will give reason for people to be pointing fingers on Jamaican athletes and their success," he said in an email response.

Holness, who was coach of Christiana High and Manchester High and was the technical leader of the Jamaican team that took part in the 2008 IAAF World Junior Championships in Poland, said: "Our performance ranking is now at the highest level when compared with the rest of the world, and I am sure that this is due to the hard work and commitment of our athletes, coaches, administrators and all stakeholders involved."

Mullings' ban, he said, will only put Jamaica further under the microscope as "there are people out there who were pointing fingers and questioning the enormous success we have been reaping".

Holness, who also coached a number of athletes including relay gold medallist and IAAF World Championships 100m finalist, Nesta Carter, wished Mullings the best with his stated plans to appeal the decision at the Court of Arbitration for Sports (CAS).

"I am still hoping that he will be able to take his case to the court of arbitration and free himself of all these charges," he said yesterday.

Meanwhile, top Jamaican track and field journalist, Hubert Lawrence, did not appear surprised at the decision, saying the ban "seems to follow logically" on precedence in similar cases.

He, however, described the situation as "sad" and said he "can only hope Steve can find some peace" as he pursues his appeal at the highest court for sport, the CAS.

National Record holder in the discus throw, Jason Morgan, expressed concern for his close friend via Black Berry Messenger. "Wow that's sad, I wish Steve the best, I'm not sure if he had a back up plan... and have some money saved up."

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