The Jamaica Olympic Trials/National Senior Championships is really a trial of sorts. The 4 day meet is the stage, where athletes enter their names and talent to have a shot at representing Jamaica at the Olympics and even better, improve their professional rankings.

The organizers and selection committee have the meet as a crucial step for selection to the national team. Athletes must show up and compete in their events, to be a part of the team. Now let’s be clear, Olympic teams can be selected without trials, but some countries with large talent pools, will use a system – a fair system for athletes to qualify. USA uses top 3 and you are in! Jamaica uses a top 3 and you might be in with a loophole of sorts, or better yet a provision for top ranked athletes to get by with a medical exemption if they may be nursing an injury.

This 2016 Senior Championships sees 2 top ranked athletes, Usain Bolt and Jeneive Russel, applying for a medical exemption.

Jevaughn MinzieNow I understand that we all want the best athlete on the track to wear the national colors and win medals so we can line the upgraded streets of the Palisadoes and block Half Way Tree, while watching the jumbotrons! and beating our dutch pots and while kids go crazy with their vuvuzellas.

The men’s 100m went off. Usain Bolt the double olympic champion in the event, applied for a medical exemption and it is understood that he will shuttle off to Germany to get treatment, run at the London Diamond League, prove fitness and like magic he is back to defend his title/s and yea!!!! all Jamaica is saved.

I say this is a farce and should be laid to rest. The medical exemption rule that Jamaica uses is like gun laws in the US which were adopted when they used muskets. Dr Warren Blake explained that the medical exemption rule is employed, since Jamaica, the tiny island, does not have a large talent pool.

Well excuse me Dr Blake, Jamaica does have a large talent pool and unfortunately in this case, large talent. My issue isn’t so much the rule, my issue is the impact on those who actually ran and are at the mercy of the selection committee. What we must understand is that we are dealing with people’s lives and livelihood. These athletes have trained for many years, making great sacrifices and the ‘top dog’ gets to “eat your food” just like that, just because…… Jevaughn Minzie finished 3rd, Senoj Jay Givans placed 6.

Now, why am I focused on these 2 spots. Minzie should represent Jamaica in the flat event while Givans should be on the relay. We must realize that Minzie by virtue of an olympic berth in the flat event, can enhance his livelihood, so too Givans. Why must we disenfranchise Minzie? Minzie should run the 100, and imagine what that means for his career, if he makes it to the semi final or even the final. Are we not concerned for this young man and his family’s future?

Givans traveled from Texas and this too, could position him for a pro career, if he made the 4×100 team, runs even the heats and the team wins in the final. Givans would be an Olympic Gold medalist. Are we not concerned about these athletes’ development as well.

Jamaica has the talent pool and we need to scrap that medical exemption rule, because if we continue down this road, athletes will just say, “oh well…….” Why are we so wrapped up in sealing Usain’s legacy, allow the youths their fair shot at earning a livelihood.

40 COMMENTS

  1. Do not jump the gun. If this was another athlete , we would have liked the same treatment . I see Nembhard’s point. However, why can’t we just wait and see what happens with Usain before we start to dissect and assume that it’s a matter of cementing Usain’s legacy. At the end of the day , it should be fair game, fair play. If Bolt recovers, why not let him compete? In the meantime, allow all alternates to prepare and if one is out, another with great timing and ability to execute should be ready to compete.

  2. we all understand the point that you are making in this article..but…theres a but. The rules were always there. If it was a case where the exemption was made for bolt only then that would be different. I mean the job of the JAAA is to ensure we have the best athletes out there representing the country so i really think you were missing the point when you wrote this article

  3. The person who wrote this article clearly doesn’t understand sports , the prime objective of the JAAA is to selective the best suited candidates to represent the country at the Olympic Games . I will allow the youths their fair share if they produce a race of quality and beat the best . In order to be the best u have to beat the best not when he’s sick . And by saying so using that forum to take his place at the games

  4. What about Jason Dadz Morgan who finished fourth but was the only only to have made the Olympic qualifying standard , should they not send him because he finished fourth? The rules existed prior to the events and everyone agreed to abide by them .

  5. The rule is there so a small nation like. ours can send the best team to represent us. If Minzie is good enough then his time should be world class. We are Jamaica, we don’t send people to make semi finals. I am glad we have this rule, because we can have Russell, Bolt and Thompson in with a chance to help us medal.

  6. This article has a valid point. It doesn’t look at jamaica’s success but rather the individual athlete who works hard just like the top guns. While we the spectators can sit and cheer and have a good time while jamaica compete at the games, there is an athlete who lost the chance to prob get a Contract signed. Let’s face it people who know and experience track and field know that it doesn’t live in anybody’s backyard and that It is an ungrateful sport. Every athlete is susceptible to injuries and unfortunate situation. It is the athlete who is more careful, stretch right, eat right, run programs that are precise and encourages improvement rather than injuries… etc, that will be victorious on the day of competition. The one who fails to achieve these objectives throughout the year have less chances of winning. Every injury is caused by something that the athlete failed to do or failed not to do. So even though we may want to win medals at the games, there are other athletes who want to earn some cash to feed their families. There is not exemption from falling in a race, nor is there for false starts… so why should there be a medical exempt? Everyone is on the same leveled field. And if the less famous athlete were to apply for med exempt they probably would be overlooked. Look at it this way, if your boss promise his employees a brand new car if they sell the most car within july, and you worked hard and got the highest number of sales, but he says you can’t get it yet because during the competition one of his best sales rep got sick. Would you say that you were treated fairly?

  7. Nebhard. That is your point of view. We heard it. Now we are moving on with our business of Bolt getting better and representing us at Rio. He and others are following the rules. By the way, is it Jamaica alone that has a rule that is different from the rules of USTF? Has the IOC ruled that it is unfair rule or illegal?

  8. Well if Usain was well and had run then the result would still be the same because he would have won the race, Blake second, Ashmeade third and maybe Minzie fourth. Its not the first time this has happened, the rule was not bent for Bolt, it has always been that way. So what is your point?

  9. This is one of the weakest arguments I’ve seen so far. If Minzie wanted to run the 100m then he should have placed 1st or 2nd. The fact that the medical exemption was known BEFORE the finals, it means that that’s the criteria which everything after falls according to. I.e.: bz of the exemption, it is now 1st n 2nd who runs the 100m, not 1,2 n 3. Get with the politics! Ur talkin abt career this n start of that. Lesson 1, kno the politics n rules of track and field. This is the big boys game

  10. It is very easy, Jamaica is logical that tries that his best sprinters are in Rio.
    Minzie has 0 options for gold medal, 100% sure, and probably 0 options for to get final in Rio.

    While a healthy Bolt has big options for gold medal.
    The Jamaican Federation thinks it, the options for the country for to get the gold medal.

    And without Bolt, Jamaica does not win the gold medal in 100, 200 and 4×100.

  11. Hey can I get a job at TrackAlerts? I’d love to be able to “eat a food” by writing crappy articles for your site. It just seems to be a theme there. You know…where you think crappy performances should be rewarded…

  12. Hey can I get a job at TrackAlerts? I’d love to be able to “eat a food” by writing crappy articles for your site. It just seems to be a theme there. You know…where you think crappy performances should be rewarded…

  13. Track and field is a very debative sport, on and off the track. Their are alot of athletes way more talented than others. Athlete that can make your event or championship be more exciting or fascinating. Now, the worlds fastest man, who is the MAIN name in the sport today, ran the heats and semi, but didn’t want to fully hurt himself in the final so he pulled out. He didn’t do it because he couldn’t bother. He didn’t do it because he wanted Blake to win, or Minzie to beat Asafa and Cole. He did it because of Jamaica. The country wouldn’t have the same anxiety towards the Olympic if there was NO BOLT! the rule was put in place for a reason. Maybe not the reason that was said, but the reason for athletes who have issues on that specific day of the trials, to prove there fitness afterwards, before the championship. I understand the concern of minzie and Givans. But what will you tell track and field face when bolt is at home watching the event? Or in the stands taking selfies with some Brazilian chicks? Minzie and Givans are both young athlete who will reach where they should, as for now, respect the rules and respect the face of track and field.

  14. Track and field is a very debative sport, on and off the track. Their are alot of athletes way more talented than others. Athlete that can make your event or championship be more exciting or fascinating. Now, the worlds fastest man, who is the MAIN name in the sport today, ran the heats and semi, but didn’t want to fully hurt himself in the final so he pulled out. He didn’t do it because he couldn’t bother. He didn’t do it because he wanted Blake to win, or Minzie to beat Asafa and Cole. He did it because of Jamaica. The country wouldn’t have the same anxiety towards the Olympic if there was NO BOLT! the rule was put in place for a reason. Maybe not the reason that was said, but the reason for athletes who have issues on that specific day of the trials, to prove there fitness afterwards, before the championship. I understand the concern of minzie and Givans. But what will you tell track and field face when bolt is at home watching the event? Or in the stands taking selfies with some Brazilian chicks? Minzie and Givans are both young athlete who will reach where they should, as for now, respect the rules and respect the face of track and field.

  15. Why is there a problem when all athletes enter the trial knowing all this. Why do we at tomes try to stir up controversy when there should be none. That rule qas not put in to exempt Bolt nor Russell so why is it a problem now. Please don’t be a Rodgers, let’s accept the rules and move ahead. The rules are there for everyone, just ensure that you qualify where they are concerned. Concern noted though.

  16. I dissagree with the premise of this article for the following reasons. (1) The same rule applies to everyone. if Minzie was ranked top 3 in the world at the time of the National Trials, and Usain Bolt was a third place finisher at trials, but ranked outside of the top 3, Minzie would be eligible to apply for a medical exemption, and we would have a different arguement at this time. (2) An arguement could be made that Minzie could have put himself in Usain Bolt’s position by By getting out early in the season, and racing himself to a top 3 ranking, worldwide, prior to trials. That did not happen. he made a choice to take his chances atNational Trials, as did most athletes, including Usain Bolt. (3)There are similar exemptions available to top athletes for world Champioships as well. An athlete can earn his/her way at Trials or by winning a Diamond League Tournament exemption, or be a defending Champion. How many people are argueing against that? No-one. because it is a sensible insurance that protects the better athletes against injury. the exemption is not just given to Usain bolt or anyone else. These exemptions are earned. Usain will continue to earn his way by proving his fitness over the next 3 weeks in 100m and 200m.

  17. This is just one of those fortunate and unfortunate situation I am totally on Minzie side and understood his position as well as Givens, but let’s be real here Bolt is the Olympic who has a chance of making the country proud and the possibility of a countrywide celebration. If another jamaican is in the finals and doesn’t win I promise Jamaicans would criticized him to a scorn. I don’t mind Shelly not in the 200 because she probably wouldn’t win but definitely Elaine, all the others all deserve their respect and probably some compensation but this is about a country or we can complain and try to make a case for those that we feel mistreated and we will be like a country that never get mentioned, we are the power house of sprinting we have to represent. USA is so ready to beat up on our 2nd tier sprinters and act like they conquered the world. We better hope, Bolt, parchment, Russell, and Thompson all in good health.They are all medal contenders.

  18. Nembhard I think you are ridiculous and have completely missed the mark. At the end of the day the intention is to have your best athletes out there competing in the Olympics to bolster the country’s chances of securing quality medals. What about all the athletes that competed in different events and came first bud did not attain an Olympic qualifying standard, should the IOC suddenly abandon it’s standards and allow them to compete? The job of the JAAA and the JOC is to have our best athletes representing us come August.

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