'They feel entitled'

Sports

'They feel entitled'

Frater bemoans male sprinters' lack of hunger, drive to succeed at global level

By Howard Walker
Senior staff reporter
walkerh@jamaicaobserver.com

Tuesday, March 31, 2020

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Michael Frater, Jamaica's 2005 World Championships 100m silver medallist, believes most of the nation's current crop of male athletes wishing to fill the huge void left by the legendary Usain Bolt lack the desire, passion and hard work required to dominate at the global level.

Having retired from the sport, like Bolt did a few years ago, and with Asafa Powell and Nesta Carter in the twilight of their careers, and Yohan Blake still struggling to regain his best form, Jamaica has fallen well behind nemesis USA in men's sprinting.

“Most of the athletes, they feel like it's a sense of entitlement where they feel they are just going out there and other athletes are going to roll over and let them win, and that's not the case,” Frater told the Jamaica Observer.

“They weren't hungry enough to go out there and get it. You have to go out and fight for what you want. So the talent has always been here and as you can see through Champs, it's not like the standard is dropping; the athletes are getting better,” Frater pointed out.

“The athletes are running in the 100m, 10-ones [10.1 seconds] and the 200m, 20-threes [20.3s] and 20-fours [20.4s], so the standard is there and it's just for them to transition to the professional level,” he added.

Following the exploits of the legendary George Rhoden, Herb McKenley, and Arthur Wint in the 100m, 400m, and 800m in 1948 and 1952, Lennox Miller became Jamaica's first medallist in the 100m sprints.

The former Kingston College star won 100m silver at the 1968 Olympics and bronze at the 1972 Games. Miller was followed by the silky smooth Donald Quarrie of Camperdown High School, who struck gold and silver in the 200m and 100m, respectively, at the 1976 Olympics.

Then it took Jamaica another 32 years before the world witnessed the greatest sprinter of all time — Usain Bolt — grabbing the sprint double in world record fashion at the 2008 Olympic Games in Beijing, China.

But not be outdone, despite not at the Olympic Games, Jamaica's Raymond Stewart did capture silver in the 100m at the 1987 World Championships, the second staging of the event.

It took another 18 years before Frater became Jamaica's second medallist in the shortest sprint before Powell took bronze two years later in 2007. In between Christopher Williams snatched silver in the 200m at the 2001 World Championships.

Frater, who said his 2005 World Championships performance was his greatest in terms of individual achievement, believes Jamaica always possessed talent.

“I think it is just a matter of time and I think we got a little bit too comfortable,” he reiterated.

“It's about nurturing the talent the proper way. Yes, I was a part of the golden era but I don't think it is lost forever. A lot of people are saying, especially on the male side, that we are down and the USA is back dominating in the male sprints.

“But in the women's, we should be there for another couple of years with Shelly and Elaine still there and we have young Briana and Kevona waiting in the wings,” Frater noted.

“But for the males, back in our days with Asafa and Usain, we weren't just out there dominating at first we had to go out there and mix with everybody on the European circuit,” said Frater.


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