J'cans delighted by gains from China sport programme

Saturday, September 08, 2018

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The experience was second to none for a number of the athletes and coaches who recently returned from the first leg of the Jamaica/China Technical Project in Sport Coaching Programme.

Some 37 athletes — 22 badminton players and 15 swimmers — along with their coaches returned to the island on Wednesday beaming about their seven-week plus experience in the East Asian nation.

The athletes were among the seven sporting disciplines from Jamaica that were involved in the programme aimed at exposing the athletes to the Chinese methodology of coaching which have brought them much success.

Basketball, football, volleyball, artistic swimming and gymnastics were the other disciplines involved.

While the seven disciplines have benefitted one way or another from the exposure, the swimmers had an added benefit of training at high altitude being involved in an endurance sport.

National swim coach Rory Alvaranga had high praises for the first initiation of the three-year programme, while lauding minister of sports Olivia Grange for affording the athletes such an opportunity.

“The experience was good and I am sure the athletes are fitter and stronger. The Chinese coaches identified the swimmers' weaknesses and went about improving their fitness, kick strength and the underwater kick for better starts and turns.

“They have done a lot of work on their kick and back strength, noting that their body position and body roll during the swims needed to be better,” Alvaranga noted.

A key part of the programme was the strength training component which Alvaranga believes has already started bearing fruits, as the improvements have been significant.

“Upon arrival, our strongest swimmers found the going a bit tough as the high altitude proved a challenge, but after getting acclimatised you could see a major difference in their body language and techniques and they are more than encouraging,” Alvaranga beamed.

During their stay in Kunming City, the Jamaican swimmers aged 12-16, had two duel meets against a Madagascar team that has been in China since May.

After failing to withstand the Madagascar swimmers in the first duel, the Jamaicans with a much improved display, got the better of their older rivals, aged 14-19 in the second duel. They won most of the events, notably at the longer distances.

“From what I've seen, some of our swimmers that are pushing for those sprint victories might very well be type-2 oxidative athletes better suited for middle distances and even the dreaded 800m and 1500m events.

“Jamaica stands to benefit immensely from this venture and we can only look to good health and the continuous development of these young talents to emerge,” declared Alvaranga, who is father and coach of young prodigy Zaneta.

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