'We are not beggars': Mills blasts JOA for unfair allocation to JAAA for track and field officials

By Sports Desk June 25, 2024
JOA president Christopher Samuda (left) and Glen Mills. JOA president Christopher Samuda (left) and Glen Mills. file

Veteran track and field coach Glen Mills expressed his discontent with Jamaica Olympic Association (JOA) and its restraints placed on the Jamaica Athletics Administrative Association (JAAA) where the number of team officials to be accredited for this summer’s Paris Olympic Games is concerned.

Mills didn’t hold any punches, as he tore into the JOA about the fact that they allotted only 14 slots to the JAAA for team officials, a figure he cited as woefully inadequate given that the country is expected to field at least 60 track and field athletes at the global multi-sport showpiece.

In fact, Mills was not shy about declaring that besides diver Yona Knight-Wisdom, uncertainty surrounds whether or not the country will have athletes in any other sporting discipline, and this he believes makes the case for the track and field contingent to be given the respect it deserves.

“I have been to nine Olympics. It is a disgrace that you have to be fighting to get the required number of coaches, the required number of therapists and doctors to go with an Olympic team that is probably rated number two or three in the world,” Mills said.

“I find it very unfortunate that track and field, and what it represents in the Olympic movement, not just in Jamaica but worldwide, along with Jamaica’s history (has come to this). We are not beggars, we have earned it,” he added.

Even as he recommended that the JOA reconsiders and up the JAAA’s allocation to 17 team officials, Mills believes that figure is still insufficient, and further suggested that 21 would be the right fit.

According to Mills, his experience as the Jamaican technical director and coach at several international competitions in the past gives him expert knowledge on what it takes to manage an Olympic delegation.

“Seventeen persons for a team of 65 to 70 is totally inadequate. I know that. I have been there and I’ve done that. I have done at least six or seven Olympics as the technical director and coach,” Mills declared.

“I know what it is to go there and work with so many different athletes and so many responsibilities, So, I cannot see why the number is a problem. How can track and field be struggling to get 17 persons when the minimum based on the requirements should be about 21,” he questioned.

On that note, Mills, the former coach of sprint legend and world record holder Usain Bolt, pointed out that he could have opted to take his expertise elsewhere, but declined offers from two other Olympic associations to join their team for this year’s Olympic Games.

“If it is forced that I recognise the necessity for other coaches who have numerous athletes, I could have gone to the Olympics with other countries. I was offered two full accreditations, full funding, but I could never see myself wearing another country’s colours, but if I am forced to, then I will have to,” he noted.

Meanwhile, JAAA President Garth Gayle explained that efforts to get the Christopher Samuda-led JOA to reconsider, have proved futile, even as he highlighted the need for additional personnel to support athletes across various disciplines.

“We believe this is a reasonable request considering the wide range of disciplines, horizontal jumps, vertical jumps, throws, as well as medical personnel and therapists, we are requesting the JOA to increase the number by three to make it 17. Their response has been 14 and that’s it, but we are asking that they review it," Gayle shared.

Related items

  • Olympic dream in jeopardy, attorneys to file urgent appeal for hammer thrower Nayoka Clunis Olympic dream in jeopardy, attorneys to file urgent appeal for hammer thrower Nayoka Clunis

    Attorneys representing Jamaica’s hammer thrower Nayoka Clunis are set to file an urgent appeal before the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) ad hoc committee if the uncertainty surrounding her participation in the 2024 Olympic Games remains unresolved by 5 pm today, Wednesday, July 16.

    Despite achieving a National Record of 71.83 metres in May, ranking her in the top 32 in the world this year, Clunis's dream of competing on the world’s biggest stage is now hanging in the balance due to a blunder from the Jamaica Athletics Administrative Association (JAAA).

    The 28-year-old, who placed second at the JAAA National Senior Championships, initially believed she was on her way to the Olympics. However, her excitement turned to dismay when she learned that her name was omitted from the JAAA’s official list submitted to World Athletics.

    “Following the Jamaican Olympic Trials, I was elated to receive notification of my official selection to Team Jamaica. Unfortunately, I have since found myself in a difficult position. Due to an omission made by the Jamaican Athletics Administration Association, my name was not officially submitted to World Athletics. As such, I do not have a position in the Olympic Games,” Clunis shared in a post on X, formerly Twitter.

    However, after no word forthcoming from the JAAA, attorneys representing the frustrated athlete - Dr. Emir Crowne and local attorney Sayeed Bernard – have written to the JAAA informing of their intended action.

    "Mr. Bernard and I act for Ms. Nayoka Clunis, an athlete who should be well-known to you by now. As is also common ground, the JAAA’s admitted negligence (gross negligence, in some jurisdictions) has put Ms. Clunis’ Olympic dreams in jeopardy. In the absence of any updates as to Ms. Clunis’ situation by 5 p.m. today, we have been instructed to file an emergency appeal to the CAS’s ad hoc division."

    The letter continued, "Indeed, we are hopeful that an appeal to the CAS is not necessary, but the JAAA’s negligence and radio silence since July 7th has left our client with few options, not to mention the irreparable damage this has done to the mental and emotional well-being. Athletes deserve better."

    While Clunis awaits a resolution, her plight underscores the importance of strong administrative leadership, as the oversight by the JAAA could potentially rob an athlete who has shown remarkable dedication in her sport of the opportunity to achieve her dream on the global stage.

     

     

  • Jamaica’s Williams, T&T’s Richards secure wins at Spitzen Leichtathletik in Luzern Jamaica’s Williams, T&T’s Richards secure wins at Spitzen Leichtathletik in Luzern

    Jamaica’s Stacey-Ann Williams and Trinidad & Tobago’s Jereem Richards were the only Caribbean winners at Tuesday’s Spitzen Leichtathletik Meet in Luzern, Switzerland.

    Williams turned back the challenge of Dutchwoman Lisanne de Witte and Switzerland’s Annina Fahr to win in 50.58, her second fastest time this season, trailing behind her 50.56 to finish second at Jamaica’s National Championships in June.

    De Witte and Fahr’s times in second and third were 51.99 and 52.08, respectively.

    Richards, the 2017 World Championship bronze medallist and two-time Commonwealth Champion, all in the 200m, won the half-lap event on Tuesday in 20.19 ahead of the Zimbabwean pair Makanakaishe Charamba (20.42) and Tapiwanashe Makarawu (20.48).

    The 30-year-old Trinidadian will also compete in the 400m in Paris. He won gold in the distance at the World Indoor Championships in 2022.

    Another Jamaican Olympian, Lanae-Tava Thomas, was narrowly beaten by the Ivory Coast’s Jessika Gbai in the 200m.

    Gbai’s winning time of 22.57 just beat out Thomas’s 22.60 while Switzerland’s Mujinga Kambundji was just behind in third in 22.61.

    Kemba Nelson ran 11.21 to finish third overall in the women’s 100m behind New Zealand’s Zoe Hobbs (11.17) and Kambundji (11.20).

     

     

     

  • The best shot: Jamaica's shot put queen Thomas-Dodd targets Olympic finals in Paris The best shot: Jamaica's shot put queen Thomas-Dodd targets Olympic finals in Paris

    As Jamaica's shot put queen, Danniel Thomas-Dodd, has achieved much over the years. But she is not entirely satisfied, and as such, intends to once again etch her name in the annals of the country’s track and field history in Paris.

    Fresh off her ninth national title win at the JAAA National Senior Championships, Thomas-Dodd has her sights set on at least making it to the finals in what will be her third Olympic Games appearance, as she hopes to build on her legacy in the circle.

    The experienced campaigner, whose journey is characterized by relentless dedication and a drive to succeed, launched the instrument to a season’s best 19.32m—to win ahead of Lloydricia Cameron (17.62m) and Danielle Sloley (13.55 m)—at the National Stadium, a performance she described as a confidence booster ahead of the global multi-sport showpiece.

    This, as her previous best performances were a 19.12m throw for sixth at the World Indoor Championships in Scotland and a 19.00m throw at the Harry Jerome Track Classic in Canada.

    “I would say it's definitely a huge confidence booster. We've been trying to piece the puzzle together going into the Olympics, so with this throw, I think we're a little bit closer to being ready to compete with the (proverbial) big dogs,” she told SportsMax.TV.

    Thomas-Dodd's path to the Paris Olympics has been one marked by both triumph and challenge, as such, her recent victory at the National Championships not only solidified her dominance in the event but also served as a testament to her consistency and resilience.

    “Coming into the championship, I was struggling a little bit to piece together the technique. So my coach asked me to give him a 19.3 metres throw because he knows I have what it takes, and if I could give him that distance in the National Stadium, then it's a right step in the right direction. So I trusted him and delivered, which makes me more comfortable going into Olympics with that level of confidence knowing that what we've been doing has been working,” Thomas-Dodd shared.

    With World Championships, World Indoor Championships, Commonwealth Games, and Pan American Games medals to her name, Thomas-Dodd is no stranger to the pressures and expectations that come with representing her country on the world stage.

    In fact, with the disappointment of the 2016 and 2020 Games in Rio and Tokyo, when she placed 25th and 13th, respectively, still fresh in her mind, the 31-year-old’s sights are firmly set on breaking into the finals on this occasion to once again demonstrate why she is regarded as one of the best in the business.

    “The number one aim is to ensure that I make it to the finals to give myself a fair chance of putting together something nice and possibly challenge for a medal. I know for sure it's definitely going to take over 20 metres to get on podium, but I've learned so much from my past experiences, and I believe that with the right preparation and mindset, I can achieve this,” she declared.

    “I have been trusting the process more, in previous years, I would have had far better throws earlier in the season, but this year we have kind of tapered to ensure that I get it right when it matters most. Like I said, I am much more motivated now, and my mental game is up, so hopefully it will all come together in Paris,” Thomas-Dodd added.

© 2023 SportsMaxTV All Rights Reserved.