Boardroom decisions to ponder

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first_imgMuch has been discussed here and elsewhere about pending action at the XV IAAF (International Association of Athletic Federations) World Championships in Athletics. Track and field is, by far, Jamaica’s most successful sport. Its biennial showpiece happens in the Chinese city of Beijing, competition lasting from August 22 to 30. It marks a highly anticipated revisit to the Bird’s Nest Stadium, where Jamaica’s sprinters staged a major coup at the Olympics in 2008. In six events, including the sprint relays, five gold medals went to the land of Bob Marley and the Reggae Boyz. That a season-long, high-riding, twice-convicted drug cheat, Justin Gatlin, is part of the USA’s spoil-the-island party only enhances the hype. One expects, following a telling London Diamond League experience, the big man himself, Usain Bolt, will make it a spectacle that only dreams can envisage. That excitement aside, there will be boardroom decisions to ponder. From them will surface a separate brand of doubts, drama, and disappointments. Come August 18-20, the hosts, the IAAF, will be holding their 50th congress. Being an even-numbered staging, elections for official positions in the hierarchy will be held. It is a contradiction of sorts that Jamaica does not have a single post in the structure of the existing world governing body. Such a distinction could be considered almost automatic, given the nation’s international high profile in the sport. In a determined attempt to correct that, four individuals have been sent forward to ‘face the music’. Dr Warren Blake, not without negative murmurs behind the curtains, holds the top spot in the Jamaica Athletics Administrative Association (JAAA). A seasoned politician, he will contest for a place on the IAAF council. The association’s general secretary, Garth Gayle, rumoured to be looking at Blake’s chair in next year’s local polls, will vie for technical committee membership. The quartet of hopefuls is completed by JAAA’s third vice-president, 1996 Atlanta Olympics 400 metres hurdles gold medallist, Deon Hemmings-McCatty, and road racing organiser, Alan Beckford. Respectively, they will be hunting women’s and cross-country committee status. Beckford, who is not on the executive of the association, was co-opted for the exercise. Foster’s Fairplay quizzed the straight talker, who co-founded and is currently chief organiser for the Jamaica College-hosted Hugo Chambers 10K. There was anxiety as to his thoughts about being sent to the polls, while not an elected member of the JAAA executive. “Having been involved in road racing for more than 30 years, and cross country as well, I think the executive of the JAAA would have seen my qualities and, knowing that I was integrally involved in many a way, with the growth of distance running in Jamaica … hence, this is the reason they selected me,” he said. The die is cast, for better or for worse. The country awaits the outcome.last_img read more

Zero tolerance of skin lightening, say principals

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first_img Reflection of society The massive and intense media attention schoolboy football has garnered recently has highlighted many aspiring young, talented players and has turned many into overnight stars. However, these regularly televised schoolboy football matches have highlighted another fact: that the phenomenon of bleaching has engulfed our secondary institutions and their sports figures. Its popularity with young people, especially those involved in sports, is a growing sensation, and The Gleaner sought the insight of a few high school principals on how widespread the phenomenon is in their schools among student athletes. Holy Trinity and Cornwall College’s principals, Margaret Brissett-Bolt and Dr Lennox Rowe, respectively, as well as Wolmer’s vice-principal, Osagdoro Asayimwese, all declared a no-tolerance stance on bleaching and that student-athletes found bleaching were not allowed to represent these schools. All three principals admitted that the phenomenon had infested their schools and they had to find ways to discourage it. “My sportsmen and women wouldn’t even think of it. They wouldn’t be selected for rugby, football, netball – none. That is definitely a no-no, ” Brissett-Bolt insisted. Cornwall College’s Rowe held a similar position. “My view is zero tolerance. We do not support it. We do not condone any type of chemical to alter the skin,” he said. “We had students (bleaching) on various teams, and I outlined my stance that if they do it, they are not going to represent the school.” Wolmer’s Asayimwese said they, too, have implemented rules to discourage the behaviour. “At the start of the school year, the principal dictated to and informed the school community that there would be no tolerance for bleaching and where boys were found bleaching, steps were taken to have them have it corrected,” he said. The consensus is that it’s a reflection of the society and students are influenced into the bad habits by their immediate surrounding. But it is said to be generally practised by weaker academic students. Brissett-Bolt believes that the schools can only do so much. “First we had the girls doing it, then the boys. I have seen improvement, but during the holidays, they will bleach again and try to fix it before they come to school,” she said. Brissett-Bolt insists that the phenomenon is not irreversible but that it is now fully engraved on the minds of our young people. And although the authorities are doing everything to keep it out of the schools, it’s not an easy challenge because of its acceptance in the general society.last_img read more