Western News

Unlucky Morgan?

On the sporting edge

PAUL A REID Observer writer reidp@jamaicaobserver.com

Thursday, October 25, 2012    

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JASON Morgan has every right to be angry and disappointed after news broke recently that what he thought was his national record in the discus throw has been ruled invalid.

Morgan had thrown 67.15m at a USATF-sanctioned meet in Monroe, Louisiana in May this year, only for the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) — the global governing body — to rule earlier this month that they would not be recognising the throw. According to the IAAF, the event was a late addition to the meet schedule.

Things got a bit confusing later when Jamaica Athletics Administrative Association (JAAA) president, Dr Warren Blake, said Morgan's throw would not be recognised as the national record because they were not certain if Morgan had undergone a drug test after the event.

Dr Blake also told reporters that in keeping with the JAAA rules, Morgan would have had to undergo a drug test at the meet for the mark to be recognised as the national record.

So which is the real reason, or is it both? Am I the only one missing something here?

It would have been nice if Dr Blake had told us when this rule was added to the JAAA statues. I am sure there are a number of national records for which the athletes did not undergo a drug test but were listed by the JAAA as records.

It appears, on the surface, a callous act to deprive the athlete of something he has worked so long and hard to achieve especially since the JAAA had listed the mark as the national record and included it in Morgan's bio for the Olympic Games.

Did the JAAA rush into listing the mark even while the IAAF had not recognised it on their performance list? There are way to many questions and not enough answers. How difficult would it be for the JAAA to know, for example, if Morgan had in fact undergone a drug test? A phone call or an email to the meet director would have settled that in no time at all.

One would have hoped that the JAAA's boss' stance would be to give Morgan a chance to sort out the situation, and to assist him in anyway he can, rather than his utterances to the media.

The athlete who has toiled long and hard in obscurity to carry Jamaica's flag deserve, nothing less.

Additionally, the IAAF's ruling is that the event was added at the last minute. However, Morgan was quoted in the Observer as far back as April/May this year, as listing the event as one of those he would be taking part in, as he prepared for the National Championships in late June.

This was the same meet, last year, at which he had thrown a previous national record under the same conditions, and which both the JAAA and the IAAF accepted.

The discus throw is not one of the sexy events, at least not here in Jamaica, and Morgan is not one of the big name athletes that are easily recognised or a household name.

He is one of those athletes, who make up the majority of the sport, who has to work hard both on the track and at a real nine-to-five, to support his family.

He does not have a shoe contract and has to save to pay meet entry fees. He drives to meets, so he can't compete in the major meets all over Europe, and is forced to attend meets that are in close proximity to his home base in Louisiana.

Hopefully, this unfortunate situation will soon be resolved and quickly forgotten.

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