JOA says Mills exclusion on JAAA as renowned coach absent from 17-member officials list for Paris Games

By Sports Desk July 05, 2024
Racers Track Club coach Glen Mills. Racers Track Club coach Glen Mills. file

In the wake of recent controversy, the Jamaica Olympic Association (JOA) has moved to clarify that the Jamaica Athletics Administrative Association (JAAA) president Garth Gayle was fully aware of the team size calculator or formula which then, and currently prescribes for the upcoming Paris Olympic Games.

The JOA’s clarification comes after widespread speculation and disappointment over allotment given to the JAAA, which was said to have resulted in the exclusion of renowned coach Glen Mills from the officials list.

According to the JOA, the JAAA was advised that a 14-member management team for track and field could increase if more athletes qualify. Following that notification, the JOA in a recent release stated that the JAAA submitted a 17-member official list which did not include Mills.

The list comprises; Ludlow Watts (manager), Ian Forbes (assistant manager), Julette Parkes-Livermore (assistant manager), Maurice Wilson (head coach), Lennox Graham (coach), Paul Francis (coach), Mark Elliott (coach), Julian Robinson (coach), Reynaldo Wallcott (coach), Marlon Gayle (coach), Lacena Golding-Clarke (coach), Warren Blake (doctor), Pier-Ann Brown (physiotherapist), Troy Evans (massage therapist), Everette Rowe (massage therapist), Damion Rowe (massage therapist), and Okeile Stewart (massage therapist).

“The JOA must again point out that the JAAA further made a specific request of the JOA for seven personal coaches, in addition to the fourteen primary team officials, and this was granted by the JOA without any reservation whatsoever. Essential to consensus and trust are transparent conduct and a readiness to admit when one falls into error. The JOA, therefore, awaits courtesy,” the JOA release dated June 27, declared.

Though the JOA release was aimed at clearing the air against statements made by Gayle, it also sheds light on why Mills tore into the Olympic body 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.

“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 during a JAAA’s press conference last Monday.

“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.

While expressing his annoyance, Mills, who has been instrumental in the development of some of Jamaica's most successful sprinters, including the legendary Usain Bolt, revealed that he could have opted to travel with another country.

“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, the JOA said Gayle was well aware of the process.

“For clarity, in his role as Chairman of JOA’s Games Commission, he had full knowledge of team size calculators (which host cities of games use to determine the sizes of country delegations), including that contained in the Olympic mandate regarding Olympic games. The JOA does not control at all the team size calculator for games. In meetings with several associations and federations Mr. Gayle emphasised this and explained JOA policies as they relate to games management,” the JOA statement said.

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