South America’s first Olympic Games closes
with Jamaica equalling Beijing medal haul
Pleased Wilson turns attention to Jamaica’s athletics future
BY HOWARD WALKER Senior Sport Reporter at the Rio Olympic Games
Sunday, August 21, 2016
RIO DE JANEIRO, Brazil — Despite Jamaica’s success at the Rio Olympic Games, Maurice Wilson, the team’s technical leader, wants to see policies implemented that will enhance the performances.
Jamaica finished with 11 medals, consisting of six gold, three silver and two bronze, and third on the athletics table behind the United States of America. The American scopped 32 medals inclusive of 13 gold, 10 silver and nine bronze, while African long distance powerhouses Kenya were second with 13 medals made of six gold, six silver and one bronze.
At the 2012 London Olympic Games, Jamaica garnered 12 medals with four gold and was again third behind the USA and Russia. In 2008, the medal tally was exactly as it is in Rio, but back then they were fourth overall.
"Well I think the Jamaican team performed extremely well throughout these championships," said Wilson, who was in charge of the coaching staff.
Of the 63 athletes, 41 made their Olympic debuts which augurs well for Jamaica’s future when the proven stars like Usain Bolt, Asafa Powell, Veronica Campbell Brown, Novlene Williams-Mills, to name a few, call it a day.
"We had quite a number of youngsters who made their debuts. 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. I also felt that the senior members of the squad, they stood up to the task and they delivered," Wilson pointed out.
"Overall, the management, the coaching staff and the medical staff did a great job over these two weeks, plus the two weeks that we were in camp. Overall having garnered 11 medals, six gold medals…more than we did in 2012, it simple states that we are at least maintaining our excellent performances coming from 2008," he added.
"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," said Wilson.
Wilson, the man who formed the GC Foster-based Sprintec track club, pointed out that in every championship there would be challenges and the Rio Games were no different.
"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," Wilson noted.
He continued: "These guidelines are guidelines that will help the team overall in terms of organisation and structure. From that standpoint, I think we need to improve, we need to have clear cut policies and stick to them".
Wilson, who clearly had issues with how the relays squad members operated, said there must be rules implemented to avoid the repeat of certain things.
"They must understand that only four persons can run at any given 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.
"The relay practice should be a must, repetition is the hallmark of study, irrespective of who thinks otherwise. These are things that must be put in place from a technical standpoint," he reiterated.
Wilson has directed Jamaica’s team in the IAAF World Junior Championships in 2000, 2004 and 2006. He served a similar role at the Olympic Games in Athens in 2004, and Beijing in 2008, and in three previous World Championships in Helsinki in 2005; Osaka in 2007; and Berlin in 2009, and 2015 in Beijing.
Having been with a lot of these athletes, Wilson had mixed emotions with the expected last appearances of some of these athletes who might retire soon in the changing of the guard.
"It’s a happy [and] sad moment for me, because a lot of these athletes, I would have been travelling with them from the junior stage, and it’s obvious that within the next two years or so they may be deciding to move on," he explained.
"I would like to think that the transition has begun. 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," Wilson ended.
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