Wayne 'Longs' for director of records post at JAAA

Saturday, October 17, 2020

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AFTER shouting from the sidelines for a long time, Wayne Long is ready to contest the post of director of records at next month's Annual General Meeting of the Jamaica Athletics Administrative Association (JAAA), and says if he gets the nod from the voters will he “revolutionise” the post.

Long and his wife, Dr Carol Long have been involved in sports, particularly track and field, for decades but have mostly been in the background, operating the results system and putting together data.

The post of director of records is presently held by Ewan Scott and according to Long, “The JAAA is the only body that can accept and declare records of athletic events held in Jamaica and for athletic achievement held by Jamaican citizens in international competitions, and it is the duty of the director of records to update this information and pass it on to World Athletics.”

The owners and operators of OndiRun Events Management, a company that records results at track and field meets, the Longs have a first-hand view of track and field across the spectrum, from primary- through Olympic-level competitions, and Wayne says he is ready to use his expertise to benefit a wider cross section of the sport.

“Not only will I bring the time needed to dedicate to this post, and the passion that I've brought to the sport for the last 43 years, I will also bring insight and a new perspective with an aim to revolutionise the keeping of records and delivery of information to all JAAA stakeholders,” he told the Jamaica Observer this week.

He acknowledged that the sport has not been stagnant but calls for more speed to match the world-class sprinters Jamaica has been known for. “For years I have been shouting from the sidelines, and although some changes have come, some are coming far too slowly. It's time for me to get in the game.”

Wayne said he joined the JAAA at the suggestion of former President Adrian Wallace. “And as I have seen first-hand, it has been very difficult to implement changes from the outside. I'm at a stage in my life where I can put more emphasis and focus on the things that are most meaningful to me. This revolutionary thinking is evidenced in the standard and delivery that I have brought to data management in Jamaica, by way of OndiRun Events Management, for the last 13 years.”

He argued that the “post of director of records is important because the world has become a global village. Soon, if it has not happened already, there will be more Jamaicans living outside of Jamaica than there are on this rock. Jamaicans, as well as the rest of the world, want to stay informed about the sport. Track and field is the most successful sport in this country – one in which we have become a powerhouse. We have an obligation to promote the sport and the success of the athletes by efficiently providing accurate and timely information. The athletes have stepped up to the plate; they are world-class. The administration is lagging behind and I would like to be a part of the team to help them catch up.”

Conversely, Long has a lot of respect for the work that Scott has been doing. “I think the current director of records is doing an excellent job of maintaining what has been put in place. I'm running because I would like to revolutionise the post.”

The much-maligned JAAA's website would be his first project, if he gets the post. “I would like to improve the website to primarily make it more user-friendly and up to date,” he told the Observer. “I also want to improve the registrar of athletes, coaches, officials and association members; the standardisation of sanctioning track meets and the dissemination of regular ranking reports.”

Supporting whoever gets the post of president, he said, would be a priority and “concurrently, I would like to focus on improving communication to all stakeholders, including athletes, members, coaches, and the media. The first step towards this goal would be to improve the website”.

Long, who is also a teacher, has been intimately involved in track and field at all levels. “I am a World Athletics-certified coach, lecturer, Fully Automatic Time (FAT) timekeeper, and official. I also have an executive masters in management sports organisation.”

None of the certifications, though important, he said, “would have prepared me for this post without my years of experience on the ground, seeing our talented athletes put their blood, sweat and tears into this sport every week during the season, only for the administration to fall short in supporting them in streamlining and disseminating their work”.

He said along with his wife, they “started OndiRun as a first step to keeping up with the standard that the athletes brought to the sport. We have been able to improve the record-keeping and distribution of information at various levels, and I believe stepping into this post will further this cause”.

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