NACAC execution was first class

... says Francis

BY OSHANE TOBIAS Observer staff reporter

Monday, January 28, 2013

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MANDEVILLE, Manchester — Jamaica has enhanced its reputation as a potential host for future athletics events following Saturday's 'successful' staging of the North America, Central America and Caribbean (NACAC) Cross Country Championships in Manchester.

That was the sentiment expressed by chairman of the local organising committee, Alfred Francis, in a postmeet interview with the Jamaica Observer.

Jamaica was hosting the middle and long distance meet for the first time since it was inaugurated in the United States of America (USA) in 2005.

"The execution of the event was firstclass," Francis said. "It was timely, the runner care was excellent; it was very effective, and I think our participants have expressed great satisfaction where the hosting of the event is concerned.

"Jamaica can feel very proud that they brought off a very well-executed meet."

Francis also hailed the course at the Manchester Golf Club in Mandeville as an ideal cross-country venue.

"The course is excellent," he said. "It was challenging (and) has all the features of a first-class cross country course (so) persons would be encouraged."

"I think this is the perfect combination," he added. "You have the Golf View Hotel, which is a great host, within close proximity to the golf course, and the people at the Manchester Golf Club are great hosts.

"You also have some wonderful set of people on the ground here in Manchester who have come out and given their time and support to the event. The teamwork has been absolutely fabulous, so I don't see any reason why the country can't host the event again."

USA's Graig Forys, one of the most-impressive winners on the day, also gave the course a thumps up.

The American, who was running only his second international race since leaving college, stopped the clock 24:46 to win the Senior Men's 8K ahead Canadian duo Cameron Levins and Kelly Wiebe.

"It's a nice cross-country course," Forys said. "It has nice trimmed, short grass. The rolling hills were also challenging, as well as the humidity. It was constantly going up and down, so it's a very good cross-country course [by] USA standards."

Jamaica had a lacklustre showing at the championships, claiming only one podium finish in the four scheduled events after the team of Damion Bent, Kirk Brown, Rupert Green, Ainsworth Daley, Webster Chung, and Shawn Pitter placed third behind the USA and Canada in the 8K.

Brown was the country's best-placed athlete in the blue riband event after finishing 16th, followed by Bent, Green, Daley and Chung. Pitter did not finish.

The local runners also failed to provide the small band of home supporters with anything to cheer about in the previous races.

Coach Dean Tomlin said the poor performance was due to lack of preparation.

"Since 15th of December, when we had the trials, we have not have even had one training session to prepare the athletes, and we are the hosts," Tomlin told the Observer on Saturday.

"As the hosts, we should be living on the course," he added. "At least twice per week we should have been out on the course. Our guys should have been so familiar with the course that they could close their eyes and run the race."

Tomlin's statement, however, contradicts early comments reportedly made by Francis in other sections of the media.

"Our athletes are preparing and they have been to the venue on several occasions and ran on it, so they have home advantage, and I know they want to do well," Francis reportedly told the Star Wednesday.

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