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ISSA boss Wellington urges new JAAA executive to focus on junior athletes

Observer writer

Friday, November 27, 2020

Keith Wellington has called on the next executive of the Jamaica Athletics Administrative Association (JAAA) to pay more attention to junior athletes, especially those who continue to train after the high school season ends in April.

Wellington, who is the principal of St Elizabeth Technical High School (STETHS) and the president of the Inter-secondary Sports Association (ISSA), is part of the Garth Gayle-led slate that will be seeking to get the nod from delegates at tomorrow's annual general meeting (AGM) that will be held at National Arena, starting at 9:00 am.

He looks set to add the ISSA role to his resume as he is one of eight people running unopposed for one of the posts of committee member.

Wellington, in an interview last weekend, pointed out that while he suspects that he was asked to join the team because of his affiliation with ISSA, says he is a paid member in his own rights.

“My membership is not tied to ISSA and in my capacity as a school principal and ultimately as the president of ISSA. [However], the main thing I would like to see the JAAA do a lot more of is to pay more attention to the development of the young athletes,” he said.

Wellington, who has travelled as head of delegations with various junior track and field teams in the past, said the support he was asking for was “in terms of training camps, supporting coaches who most times are not paid after Champs”.

“The truth is that school programmes run usually from October to March/April, but the international programmes usually start sometimes March/April with CARIFTA and running into the summer,” Wellington said.

Most schools, he said, were not able to continue supporting the coaches after the March/April period and as such he said: “A lot of these coaches make a lot of sacrifices on their own without support from the schools, and while in some cases the school do support the programme to ensure that the national programme develops, but I would like to see a little more interest been shown to what happens to the junior athletes.”

Wellington's views closely mirrors those of Olympian Donald Quarrie who will challenge Gayle for the post of president tomorrow, as Quarrie has spoken about plans to resume training camps and assist coaches who were in charge of national junior athletes.

The STETHS principal said he had no intention to run for any positions, but “Garth Gayle reached out to me”.

“[He] asked me if I would be willing to serve, bearing in mind the other roles I play in track and field... I think that I have a role to play and I accepted the request,” noted Wellington.

He said he was confident in the other members of the 17-member slate.

“When you look around at the other persons who have agreed to support him [Gayle] it is a strong team that can move Jamaica's track and field forward,” Wellington ended.

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