JAAA president cautions against athlete burnout ahead of Olympics
With the 2024 track and field season set to get in full swing this weekend, Jamaica Athletics Administrative Association (JAAA) President Garth Gayle is urging caution against the premature burnout of athletes ahead of major championships this year.
As the On Di Run Sprint Fest launches the season this afternoon at the Richard Ashenheim Stadium, the track is expected to reverberate with the thunderous footsteps of athletes, their minds set on preparing for upcoming championships.
Amidst the fervour, Gayle stressed the significance of meticulous and strategic planning for participation at development meets.
“The timing and how we manage the schedule of these events for the benefit of the athletes and for the officials to be in a position to make decisions that will benefit the athletes and also for the athletes to compete and be injury-free is very important to us,” Gayle emphasised.
Additionally, there is the JC Pure/Wata development meet at the Richard Ashenheim Stadium and the First Chance Athletic Championships at the Herbert Morrison High School in St James on Saturday. Gayle highlighted the need for a balance to propel athletes toward success without pushing them too hard too soon.
“The scheduling of these meets is crucial because the first one would be gaining standards and performances for Boys’ and Girls’ Championships, but not running them or having them perform too much. We must make a careful selection of the various meets across the early season leading into the championships and beyond,” Gayle urged.
With the 2024 season marking 200 days or fewer to the Olympic Games, Gayle called upon meet promoters to be mindful of the broader context in which track and field events would unfold.
Acknowledging the countdown to the Olympics, he emphasised the need for proper spacing of events to ensure optimal performance not only at the national level but also on the international stage.
“We have competent officials who I know will continue to perform excellently; our athletes do very well. So, it is just to ensure that there is proper spacing of our events and the ability to compete as required on the international level,” Gayle said.
Celebrating local officials who had achieved international status, Gayle expressed confidence in their ability to elevate the standard of competition.
Gayle highlighted the responsibility to provide top-notch training for both technical officials and coaches.
“The Caribbean looks to us as the leading Caribbean country in NACAC [North American, Central American, and Caribbean Athletic Association], and so we know our athletes will benefit from improved training from our technical officials and also the coaches who have prepared these athletes. We look at timing and ensure that it is not all about looking to Boys’ and Girls’ Championships but beyond as well,” Gayle concluded.