The administrators of sports in Jamaica seem to have a problem with any member of their organisation speaking out about any perceived problem. Whenever there is a report of a ‘problem’ the administrators complain bitterly about “a process” whereby complaints can be resolved internally. They are eerily silent when it is revealed that the ‘problem’ had been previously discussed ad nauseam internally, without any tangible move being made to resolve the problem. So, frustrated, an interview is given, a document leaked, and then wholescale wringing of the hands, as the offending individual is disciplined/sanctioned. Oh dear! What can the matter be? The answer seems to lie in the sense of entitlement that comes with the elevation of these men and women to positions of power. Every acceptance speech by an administrator who has sought the position, and won, speaks glibly about ‘communication’ with players, officials, and fans. Yet, whenever ‘problems’ surface, the frustrated complainer, being human, fails to follow point by point ‘the process’ and out he/she goes, while the ‘problem’ remains and festers. Winning in any sport tends to allow ‘problems’ to be ignored or papered over, but when the team begins losing over and over again, and the fingers of the fans begin pointing, searching for the person(s) responsible for the poor run of results, this is where our administrators hunker down, dropping players, firing coaches, daring any member of the losing team to go public. Whatever happened to the administrator who spoke at his/her inauguration? Power – power that has unmasked a character flaw which is much too painful to admit. I do believe that the four most popular sports in Jamaica are Horse racing, football, track and field and netball. We lead the world in track and field not because we have good administrators, but because we have world-class athletes. I fear the post-Bolt era of track and field because that is when the ‘problems’ cannot be papered over or ignored, and if not corrected, no longer will be comfortable with the moniker ‘sprint capital’ of the world. In football, persistent and financially embarrassing losses have caused the leader of our nation’s football to finally come to the realisation that the future of local football lies in the development of LOCAL talent. RELENTLESS FALL DOWN In netball, a relentless fall down the world ranking has finally caused the administrator of that sport to look in the direction of LOCAL coaches to guide our world-class talent to the pinnacle of world netball. Hopefully, soon, gender bias will also go the way of dependency on foreign coaches, bringing the results that the fans crave. In cricket, the Trump-like thin-skinned qualities of the leadership – who insist on foreign leadership that is obviously alienating any player whose self-belief made him a world-rated player – is not helping the team. Tony Becca, in his column on Sunday, pointed out the dual roles of President Dave Cameron and technical director of cricket Richard Pybus. Tony is so right when he articulates a question that has been dogging West Indian fans as star after star is ushered from representing us, the people of the region. “How can a non-West Indian stop a West Indian player from representing the West Indies, regardless of the circumstances.” Maybe that question is what led Mr Cameron to agree to do that interview on SportsMax, falsely hoping to give the impression that there is some West Indian input into what is going on with our stars. I do hope that the refusal of Jamaican James Adams to renew his English coaching contract means that he is considering coming back home to rescue West Indian cricket. What a wonderful director of West Indian cricket he would be!
Leander Paes. Photo: ReutersLeander Paes and Rohan Bopanna opted out of the Incheon Asian Games, which is starting in less than 10 days, on Wednesday.This comes as a jolt for India’s tennis contingent, which will not see names like Somdev Devvarman and Sania Mirza, apart from Paes and Bopanna, participating in this edition of the Asian Games. Reacting to the development, the All India Tennis Association said it respects players’ decision.Hinting the decision earlier on Tuesday, Paes had said, “Most probably I won’t be playing. But I’ll have to speak to my captain, my family, the association and see what can be done. I’ll take all conversations into consideration on putting the best team forward.””The individual event (at the Asiad) is spread over 8-10 days. The same week are the Shenzhen Open and Malaysian Open and the finals are on the Monday of Tokyo and Beijing which means you will get there only Tuesday.””It’s taking over a time of two tournaments. I never shy away from playing for my country but you also have to prioritise your career some time,” he had said.