Forte defends male sprinters, urges patienceSunday, August 01, 2021
By Daniel Blake
Jamaica's Olympic 200m representative Julian Forte has come out in defense of the current local male sprinters who have come under fire in recent times.
The country failed to collect any medals in the men's 100m, 200m and 4x100m events at the 2019 World Championships in Doha. Additionally, the island did not have a representative in the men's 100m finals at the Tokyo Olympics, with Yohan Blake and newcomer Oblique Seville both failing to advance beyond the semifinals.
Since 2018, only three men including Blake, the 2011 World Champion, have run under 10 seconds.
Those statistics have led to criticisms from the Jamaican public including sprint legend Usain Bolt.
However, Forte is disappointed with the comments directed towards the country's men.
“A lot of people that follow the sport will understand more from an athlete's perspective but then you have a lot of people who only watch when there's world championships or Olympics and don't really know anything,” he told Observer Online ahead of the Tokyo Games.
“It's not like the athletes don't want to do well and I think sometimes the spectators think that they want it more than the athletes do which is ridiculous. It just goes to show that it's not as easy as you might think.”
Forte, who has a personal best time of 9.91 seconds in the 100m, believes the previous generation of male sprinters were phenomenal talents and their achievements are difficult to replicate.
“When we were in our glory days, it looked easy because you had (Usain) Bolt, (Yohan) Blake, Asafa (Powell), Michael Frater, Nesta Carter and all of those guys are under 9.9 seconds for their personal bests so the crop of talent in sprinting in those years were a lot more (than present).”
He also believes that coaches of the current crop of sprinters are not as driven as they used to be.
“It's human nature to get a little bit comfortable or complacent when you have done well and achieved a lot. In terms of the coaches, they have achieved so much and their motivation to achieve more is probably lower than when they just started so when you put that into context, the coaches are probably not as hungry.”
He has urged the Jamaican public to be patient and understanding during this transitional period.
“Before 2008, we were good but we were working our way up to the glory days so we never had the kind of medal hauls that we were getting in 08, 09 and 2012,” he said.
“It's a cycle and we're a small country. I think people need to understand that it's not going to be great every year.”
Forte, Blake, Seville, Tyquendo Tracey, Rasheed Dwyer, Nigel Ellis and Jevaughn Minzie were the men selected to compete for Jamaica in the sprint events in Tokyo.
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