Jamaica looks to Kenya for 800m help


December 12, 2016
Kenya's David Rudisha won the 800 metre Olympic title in 2012 and the World Championships in 2015.

Jamaica looks to Kenya for 800m help

Hubert Lawrence

STAR Writer

The Jamaica Athletic Administrative Association (JAAA) is again hoping that Kenyan expertise can help Jamaica succeed in middle distance racing.

According to JAAA president, Dr Warren Blake, discussions are now taking place that could send Kenyan coaches to Jamaica with sprint expertise making the trip in the other direction.

He reported that while the initial contact on this matter was made in 2012, a possible coaches swap is on the front burner again.

Since its Olympic debut in 1968, Kenya has been a pre-eminent world power in distances from 800 to the marathon. By contrast, Jamaica has not won an Olympic medal in an event longer than 400 metres since 1960. That's when George Kerr placed third in the 800 metres at the Rome Olympics.

Blake said the swap was first discussed four years ago. "We had an agreement in principle that we'd be doing a coaching exchange and possibly athlete exchange as well and they had in fact identified one of their top distance coaches to come to Jamaica and they were willing to send him even if we didn't send him even if we didn't send another coach."

He says that a Jamaican coach was, in fact, selected but fell ill. After that, the previous Kenyan federation leadership had been embroiled in a corruption scandal.

With that matter now largely resolved and a new team in charge of the sport in Kenya, the swap is back on the table for dialogue.

An optimistic Blake told STAR Sports: "They promised to go back to their federation and raise the whole issue of having ties with Jamaica to do just that sort of exchange because they could benefit from some knowledge in sprinting and we could benefit so it could really mutually beneficial to both our federations."

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