Public Education the only answer – Jamaica’s track and field is being scrutinized….

Jamaica’s track and field is being scrutinized from top to bottom and the news of the adverse findings of A samples by some of the island’s best athletes have brought some major issues, up close and personal. 

Jamaica’s track and field history has been well recorded since 1948, but with the obvious, “you are as good as your last activity” phrase – this could wipe that excellence away if the process to clear the names of the athletes and by extension show that the management of the sport is in capable hands, is not handled strategically. 

We have heard recently of issues with doping in Turkey, USA and now Jamaica. What those administrations/personalities have done is 

  • Acted decisively
  • Taken full responsibility 
  • Opted to recover by doing investigations to clear names and identify procedures
  • Spoken frankly 

We have a tendency to act surprised or react emotionally in a dilemma or crisis, but as the world progresses with information spreading like wild fire in a jiffy, Jamaica’s slow, laid-back approach to communication has to be direct, factual and focused on highlighting transparency and reconciliation. 

To say the Brand is not affected, one has to be comatose. The athletes are the most superior ambassadors and have carried the positive outcomes of the Brand for such a long time. What the news of the athletes has done is show a gap in our management and the industry deserves much better. 

The governing body, the associated agencies and the public and private corporate society must support by offering assistance to channel its resources into 

  • public education and awareness
  • refocusing its attention to development 
  • building and repairing the negatives of the Brand 
  • being part of campaigns to re-assert the image/reputation as one which exemplifies discipline, dedication, commitment and fair play. 

We all can decide that the athletes are not cheaters, however the system/procedure by which they have been caught is one internationally used and to fight that requires unity of purpose by our actions. 

We can always look back and say, “we could have done that” however, the blow has already been thrown and the best action now is to look at corrective measures. 

Track and field therefore requires 

  • Efficient and Effective management 
  • Strategic approach to the Business of the Sport 
  • Focused attention on all the parts/areas of the Sport
  • Intervention to minimise the negative impact
  • Technical support to assist in demystifying the myth that one has to cheat to win 

There are measures by which these can be achieved, but it requires the will, mindset and the people to make it work. 

Let’s focus our attention and energies to repair the sport we all love.

About the Author
Carole Beckford is the CEO/President of The Business of Sport. She is an advocate for change and impact; an advocate for meaningful dialogue in a bid to reach consensus for benefit for all – sport, culture, education and social growth. Check our her blog.