Jamaica’s technical leader to the Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, Maurice Wilson, is calling for the establishment of guidelines to govern the island’s full delegation at major championships.
According Wilson, the lack of these guidelines was a major challenge during this Olympic Games, although he failed to go into major details.
Wilson, who have been to four Olympic Games with Jamaica, said, “in every championships there are challenges. I think there has to be some more guidelines in terms of how we operate in relation to our athletes.
“There must be guidelines that govern how they represent the country. There must be guidelines in relation to management and officials. There must be a clear distinction in terms of their responsibilities and these guidelines will help the team overall, in terms of organisation and structure.
“So from that standpoint, I think we need to improve. I think we need to have clear cut policies and stick to them,” Wilson said.
He continued, “there must be rules that govern, for example, athletes who are participating on a relay team. They must understand that only four persons can run at any point in time and if six members are on a squad, the six members must warm up.
“They must understand that the six members must be at the track on time and relay practice should be a must. Repetition as everybody knows, is the hallmark of study, irrespective of who think otherwise. So these are things that must be put in place from a technical standpoint,” Wilson said.
Jamaica performed creditably in the relays with the men’s 4×100 metres winning gold, while the women’s 4×100 as well as both 4×400 metres relay teams earned silver medals. In the 4×100 metres races, in which baton exchanges can be critical to the success of the team, the men did fairly well, with the women having glaring issues during their race.
That aside though, Wilson believes that the team as a whole, performed well, especially since a number of the members, were attending their first major championships.
He said, “I think the Jamaican team performed extremely well. We had quite a number of youngsters who made their debut. Some persons felt that they could have done better, but I think the experience was very good for them. It will set the platform for Japan (next Olympic Games). I also felt that the senior members of the squad, they stood up to the task and they delivered.
“Overall, the management, the coaching staff and the medical staff did a great job over these last two weeks, plus the two weeks that we were in camp.
“So overall, having garnered 11 medals, six gold medals – more than we did in 2012 – it simply states that we are at least maintaining our excellent performances coming from 2008, and we just have to be prepared for the transition of our senior athletes and make sure that we have systems in place to fill the roles later on,” Wilson said.
According to the coach, he is having mixed feeling, having travelled with a number of the athletes since they were at the junior level and will have to say goodbye to them at the end of this Olympics, as the transition for the next generation has started, although he has a concern.
He said, “I think that we still need to put some more effort in terms of building the base from bottom up, but so far so good.
“It is all about just getting back to the drawing board and working very hard. At this level – the Olympics and the World Championships level – it is the most well trained, the most psychologically tough athlete that will survive. Talent alone will not do it. So it is just about getting back to the drawing board and working very hard at a very high level,” he said.
Wilson, however, said that a number of this set of athletes at the Olympics were pleased with their performance, while some “like the throwers” were disappointed.
Among those he mentioned who were pleased are 400 hurdlers Ristananna Tracey and Leah Nugent, 400 runners Anneisha McLaughlin-Whilby, Javon Francis and Fitzroy Dunkley.
He said, “in terms of the 110 metres hurdles, we all know of McLeod’s achievement. He is a phenomenal youngster. Extremely talented. And right across the board we had persons who performed, and performed extremely well.”
“I think a couple of the throwers were disappointed, but I explained to them that the conditions were not necessarily what it should have been and the experience of just competing at this high level, can take a toll on you. So I think a couple of them felt disappointed but I felt that they did extremely well.
“I am just happy to be around during this era to have witnessed the greatness of such a man (Usain Bolt) and he is not only great as an athletic talent, but as a person. I have never seen a superstar with the sort of humour, the sort of wit, the sort of just camaraderie that he has displayed, with his teammates and with the society as a whole,” Wilson said.
And how does he compare this Olympics to the others that he has been to?
“Beijing would have to be the Olympics that would have stood out in my mind, based on the fact that we had our first double champion in Usain Bolt. It would have had to be the most outstanding for me.
“But I have to give credit to the Brazilians. I think they tried their best for a country that is not heavily orientated towards track and field, they made a great impact and I am really proud of the efforts,” Wilson stated.