No egos, just relays!

No egos, just relays!

J’can managers on alert ahead of Olympics

BY HOWARD WALKER Observer senior reporter walkerh@jamaicaobserver.com

Tuesday, July 03, 2012

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A repeat of the clash of egos that reared its ugly head at the 2009 Berlin World Championship and caused an uproar in the Jamaican camp in the relays will be no more, according to Maurice Wilson, a member of the coaching staff to the London Olympic Games this summer.


At that meet in Germany, the battle for favoured relay legs in the Women’s 4x100m saw one of the top performers stepping aside, although the team still managed to capture the gold medal.


This, Wilson insists, will not happen again as steps are in place to ensure egos are tempered entering the Olympics.


"There was a particular situation some years ago and we had to make a decision in relation to a particular situation in respect to the country, and I think this is going to be no different," said Wilson, who is also head coach of the successful Holmwood Technical Girls team.


"It’s about the best position for the athlete in relation to the team; it’s not about being a star so you must run here and you dictate. That’s why you have coaches there that assist in this respect," said Wilson.


"It’s not like we’re enforcing anything. We’re just facilitating... making the team better, and this is where we really need support and not about persons… it’s about getting the best team on paper, and I’m confident it will be resolved this year," he added.


Despite having three of the fastest women over 100m in Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce, Kerron Stewart and Sherone Simpson, along with the 200m champion Veronica Campbell Brown, Jamaica botched the baton change at the 2008 Olympic. Wilson insists that this time around proper, there will be adequate preparation.


"We cannot have a relay team that doesn’t practice together. These situations are normally resolved right after the selection of the team so you know who are the persons that are going.


"We must get in practice in order... to stand a chance of regaining our title in the 4x100m women," he pointed out.


According to Wilson, since he arrival of Donald Quarrie as technical director in 2005, a certain level of camaraderie has developed.


"We’re very unified in terms of decisions. To some extent, there were some problems last year... in term of strength of unity and focus. It was not gelling...


"This is of great importance... for us to sell this to the athletes for the country because, as you know, bragging rights for us in relation to the relays not withstanding, we’re the record-holders for the 4x100 men," he noted.


On the topic of men, over the years the public has been crying for the inclusion of triple record-holder Usain Bolt to be part of the Mile Relay, the same argument for 400m hurdles champion Melaine Walker on the women’s side, but to no avail.


"One of the things we have to take into consideration… these are athletes are prepared at the highest level for a particular event, so for example, a Usain Bolt that is prepared for a 100- 200m double, plus a 4x100, will be running about seven races in the space of about four or five days, so it is very difficult to pop up in a 400m, although it seems like a one run.


"I do understand, but the preparations have to be specific for him running a leg of 4x4," said Wilson.


"Then you have to take in consideration that these elite athletes do have sponsors who expect them to be in the next Diamond League in term of what they’re prepared for and that would be very difficult for you to try and change that," he reiterated.


"That would have to be sorted out and the athlete would have to be willing to participate because the 400m is something that most of the short sprinters are afraid of," he said.


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