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Letters to the Editor

Proud sporting progress in the field events

Tuesday, September 11, 2018

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Dear Editor,

Let us praise Fedrick Dacres. He is the first Jamaican to be crowned a Diamond League champion in a field event. This is a magnificent achievement in a country known as the sprint factory of the world.

On June 10, 2018 Dacres threw the discus 69.67 metres in Stockholm, Sweden, to break his own national record.

In 1957, Class 1 boys at Champs threw a discus of the same weight as the Olympic size used by Dacres. The record was 114 feet. If there was a national record at that time it would not have exceeded that distance by much. Dacres' record is a little more than twice the Champs record. This speaks to the progress Jamaica has made in the discus event.

Although not a statistician, I would venture the opinion that over the past 60 years progress in the discus event has been greater than progress in the sprints (100m and 200m).

Progress in shot put has also been very marked. The only weight event in which we have not progressed is javelin. This situation should be addressed because there is no doubt that we have athletes who can excel in this event. Overall, we have made significant progress in the weight events.

Let us also praise Dacres' coach, Julian Robinson. Like Dacres he is an old boy of Calabar High School. He deserves a national honour. Not only has he coached Dacres, but also the athlete Travis Smikle, who held the national record for the discus before Dacres. He has also coached many other Calabar athletes who have performed very well at the secondary and national level in the discus and shot put events. The discus is a very technical event requiring strength, skill, and overall athletic ability. It's as though Robinson has established at Calabar an institution of higher learning in the throwing of the discus.

Robinson and Dacres should want for nothing in Jamaica. Private individuals, companies, and the Government should be beating down their doors with offers of financial assistance and other resources. In Dacres, Jamaica has, all things being equal, a potential gold medallist in the next World Championships and Olympic Games.

Let us also praise and celebrate the Haitian winner of the USA Open Tennis Championships Naomi Osaka — not a bad achievement for someone from a State described by the leader of the free world as a “s…hole country”. Her father being Haitian, she is from our neck of the woods and, for historical reasons, one of us. We are also proud of the runner-up, Serena Williams, who is also for historical reasons one of us — a win-win situation for Jamaica.

Patrick Robinson

Judge, International Court of Justice

The Hague

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