WINDS OF CHANGE?

Sport

WINDS OF CHANGE?

Sprinter Tyquendo Tracey calls for body to champion athletes' welfare, lashes poor administration of sport

BY DWAYNE RICHARDS
Observer writer

Thursday, December 03, 2020

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After a bleak year for the sport of track and field, where the all-important Olympic Games had to be postponed due to the pandemic caused by the novel coronavirus, national 100m champion for 2018 Tyquendo Tracey is on a mission to change.

As he puts it, change that he hopes will ultimately lead to personal growth and development for athletes and their welfare.

“On a whole [it] has to do with me personally, just things that need to be changed in order for me to become a better athlete, so people see a better me,” said Tracey.

With time to stop and think as a result of the extended downtime, Tracey says that personal change is something he needed to embark on.

“It's something that [has to be done]. We all need a new outlook at times, in order to really improve ourselves,” he said.

The 27-year-old, who was the 100m champion of North American, Central American and Caribbean (NACAC) Championships in 2018, says those who are responsible for the administration of the sport don't love track and field and that the athletes need an association for themselves.

“Jamaican athletics is not being run by people that love the sport, it's run by people that enjoy the spoils of what the sport produces,” noted Tracey as he continiues his critique of the sport's administration.

He suggested an strategy that he thinks will protect future generations of Jamaican athletes.

“I think we would need to create an athletes' association, an association that lets these people know that athletics is the athletes and the athletes is athletics. They keep on making it look like it's about them and what they want,” Tracey said.

With a new administration elected on the weekend to run Jamaica's track and field for the next four years, it will be interesting to see if the concerns expressed by Tracey will be addressed by the Garth Gayle-led Jamaica Athletics Administrative Association (JAAA).

Meanwhile, the Olympic Games are set to be held in Toyko, Japan, despite the COVID-19 still affecting the globe, and Tracey admitted that there is some amount of fear heading into the new year and the new season.

“I would describe the 2021 season in one word 'scary', honestly, a lot is unsure and not certain. Nonetheless it's bitter-sweet, so I am looking forward to it and holding onto the side of things that I want to happen,” Tracey reasoned.

Like all Jamaican sprinters, heading to Tokyo to represent the country is high on the agenda, but Tracey says that he is not looking that far just yet. The first objective, he says, is just making the team to represent the country.

“For now, my focus is on turning up at the National Trials and being in the top three,” Tracey stated.

When asked if he can be classified as a part of the new Jamaican sprinting brigade, Tracey said that he wants his work on the track to speak for itself.

“I am striving for greatness. I'm not as lucky or as talented as some, but I do work hard, and if I can inspire and help others while I do that, then of course,” he noted.

Tracey also believes that the local administrators have failed the sport during the “glory years” between 2007 and 2018, highlighted by the impact and influence of the legendary Usain Bolt.

“No tree bears fruit every single day of every year of its life. There is always a time when the tree has no fruit and works on making new ones.

“With that said, Jamaica had stumbled on some of the greatest and sweetest fruits one can think of, and what did the country and the people managing those fruits do? Nothing!

“They just drank from what those fruits were producing and put nothing in place for the future of that tree, to produce more fruits,” the sprinter said, tapping into his philosophical side.

Tracey also believes the Government has failed the athletes as well.

“Moreover, there were so many mediums where the Government and JAAA could have built facilities and made programmes to facilitate, especially the vast amount of talent we have leaving high school. Some end up being taken for granted, lost in the US collegiate system, or manipulated by greedy coaches and pushed aside,” Tracey blasted.


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