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McFarlane calls for ‘fresh blood’ in JAAA

Published:Saturday | February 13, 2021 | 12:31 AMLivingston Scott/Gleaner Writer
MCFARLANE
MCFARLANE

Olympian Danny McFarlane said there is a great need for fresh blood and former athletes in the executive of the Jamaica Athletics Administrative Association (JAAA). McFarlane, the 2004 Olympic Games 400m hurdles silver medallist, said Garth Gayle...

Olympian Danny McFarlane said there is a great need for fresh blood and former athletes in the executive of the Jamaica Athletics Administrative Association (JAAA).

McFarlane, the 2004 Olympic Games 400m hurdles silver medallist, said Garth Gayle taking over as president from Dr Warren Blake did not signal anything different for the new administration.

He said that it is basically the same individuals still operating the JAAA.

“It is nothing new,” McFarlane told The Gleaner. “It is the same administration. They just switched people around.

“Who in it is new? In my eyes, I don’t like it because we need new, fresh blood, new ideas and we need people who know the system.”

He said former athletes in the JAAA as administrators will make it a better and more efficient body, and that this will also lead to smoother relationships between athletes and administrators.

“These administrators will better understand what athletes are going through and how to better assist them,” he said. “So we need some more [former] athletes in it working.

“The JAAA is around because of the athletes. The athletes are the product and you have to take care of the product.

“And to do that, I would like to see more experienced people, who have been there as athletes. Hard-working, intelligent people who have come through the system and understand what it is all about.”

He said that those without the hands-on athletic experience will find it difficult to operate the office for the maximum benefit and well-being of athletes.

“The JAAA don’t surround themselves with great athletes who have been through the system,” McFarlane said. “So how are they going to have a successful organisation when no one has been through it and understand what athletes go through?”

COMPARED TO USA AND BRITIAN

McFarlane said that this is how it is done in Britain and the United States, and he believes this approach will get Jamaica’s athletics moving forward again.

“If you get the right people, real Olympians, educated people who have been through it, then you are going to see changes.

“If you have been through the struggle and you reach the top, you will understand what the struggle is like, so they will have more empathy towards people struggling and will put things in place to ensure everyone understands the way forward.”

Third Vice President Michael Frater and Fourth Vice President Vilma Charlton are the only members of the JAAA’s executive body that are past athletes.

McFarlane, who is a behavioural specialist in the United States, said that although he would be interested in assisting the JAAA, his career keeps him too busy. He however says he tries to offer mentorship to younger athletes whenever he can.