Friday, January 22, 2010

Maurice Greene in Jamaica

KINGSTON, January 14
“If you think track and field was hard, try Dancing with the Stars,” said Maurice Greene, five time world champion and two time Olympic gold medalist. Greene got to the quarter final round while spending eight weeks in the ABC show.

Greene however, sat with journalists on Thursday in Kingston at a pre-lunch session and shared some of his opinions about the status of track and field. “Usain Bolt will probably go down as the ultimate sprinter and once he decides to run the 400 metres, he will definitely shatter that record,” said Greene. In commending Bolt, Greene noted that as Bolt body changes into more adult form, he could go even faster. He also observed that there are still some technical flaws with Bolt and if corrected, the sky is the limit.

Greene’s fastest time is 9.79 seconds over the 100 metres, is sure that the time will go even lower. He contends that the top three athletes remain Bolt, Tyson Gay and Asafa Powell; but thinks the US need a stronger personality to help to sell the sport in the USA. “Tyson is a little bit too quiet, but he has surpassed a lot of expectations.” Greene noted that the sport is suffering from a lack of visibility and needs to be shown more on television.

Greene is in Jamaica as a special guest of the organizing committee of the Douglas Forrest Invitational meet, scheduled for Saturday, January 16 at the National Stadium. The meet starts at 8:30.
Bahamian, Tonique Williams Darling will also be a special guest at the event.

Gatlin will not have it easy

KINGSTON, January 14

USA embattled athelte, Justin Gatlin who plans to return to the track this July "will find it difficult to get back on track when he competes this year," says Maurice Greene.

"What he left in track has changed and so he may want to consider his options. The sport has changed so much in the last four years. I wish him the best of luck," noted Greene

Gatlin who served a four year ban for testing for a positive substance has issued a warning to the top three sprinters in the 100 and 200 metres sprint saying he wants to reclaim his position at the top. Gatlin's best time in the 100 metres is 9.85 seconds.

Greene sat in with journalists on Thursday in Kignston and spoke openly about the status and future of the sport. On Asafa Powell, Greene insisted "Asafa can only get it right if he gets mentally tough." He commended Asafa for his technique, noting that he comes the closest to running a perfectly technical 100 metres.

He also thinks his countrywoman Carmelita Jeter, has a mental flaw and needs to develop that area to win gold in a major championship.

On the future of USA dominance in sprint, Greene thinks it will take some five to six years for the USA to return to glory, citing Jamaica as the 'leader' in sprinting in the world.

He argues that the USA/Jamaica clash could only benefit the sport, although admitting that the Jamaicans are already beating the USA and the rest of the world.

Greene is in Jamaica along with Bahamian Olympian, Tonique Williams Darling as guests of the organisers of the Douglas Forrest Invitational, scheduled for the National Stadium this Saturday.

Greene and Darling (who arrived on Thursday evening) also attended the RJR Sportsman and Sportswoman of the Year awards ceremony at the Jamaica Pegasus where Usain Bolt and Brigitte Foster Hylton walked away with the top prizes.

Thursday, January 7, 2010

SPORT takes centre stage in 2010

There is no doubt that there will be a plethora of major sporting activities across the world in 2010 which will help to highlight the growth and potential of the sport tourism market. Because of these events, sport tourists will be moving around to enjoy moments that they will cherish forever.
One easy competition is the World Cup Football, scheduled for South Africa which is just under 155 days away (as of Wednesday, January 6). Records from 2006 suggest that for one month, there were over three million spectators at the 64 games played, with an average of 52,000 spectators attending each game. The 2006 edition was also the most watched where it is reported that there were just over 26 million viewers.
South Africa (Motherland) will no doubt, try to outdo those numbers. What does this mean for the sport tourism element? People will still travel to see tournaments, enjoy the destination and be a part of history. That is what sport tourism aims to do.
Back home in Jamaica, the Boys Championships will be celebrating 100 years, and 11 years in combination with the Girls competition and already there is a buzz in Kingston of what is likely to happen. So the opportunities will be tremendous once the proper plans are in place.
The Inter Secondary Schools Sports Association (ISSA) has outlined some of its plans and for the track and field fans, they are already on board; what then of the curious onlookers? So much has been written and spoken of Jamaica’s prowess in the athletics arena; shouldn’t this therefore be an opportunity for a multi-agency approach to attracting new groups to Jamaica? I did recommend that March 21 – 28 be designated track and field week in Jamaica, where we go after media in the areas of sports, lifestyle, food and locations to showcase the heartbeat of the Caribbean, Kingston.
In the first week of December nine major media houses from selected regions were in Kingston and the north coast to focus on Usain Bolt and his team ensured that the allure and essence of Kingston were captured as part of the overall picture. Those features are being aired from now until June as original runs and some may even feature repeats. We just need to keep the message going to attract the best of visitors to our shores.
As we continue to look at the prospects for Sport Tourism for 2010, the experts have determined it will carve out more of the overall tourism pie, accounting now for approximately 10 per cent. More money will be spent, more people will travel and so the destinations must improve its infrastructure and programmes (projects) which will capture the imagination of people.
Jamaica has the opportunity to go after sporting areas which has universal appeal and has the where-with-all to refocus its attention on sport tourism. The call is for the following associations to make the BOLD step forward – golf, tennis, swimming. There are additional opportunities for basketball, netball, hockey an football to focus on a new and untapped market – schools and colleges.
Here is my wish for a great year for sport tourism for Jamaica and by extension the Caribbean…we can do this!