Put more faith in local field events coaches – Kerry Lee Ricketts
Local jumps coach Kerry Lee Ricketts, who is also the coach of top Jamaican triple jumper Shanieka Thomas-Ricketts, believes local coaches have the capability to develop athletes in technical events just as the sprinting events.
Ricketts notes that several junior athletes are encouraged to continue their development abroad after high school, but he thinks that if the local coaches are given a chance, they can unearth these potentials just the same.
“This season has been great both in the field events and hurdles. Last year, field events and hurdles represented Jamaica well – (Janieve) Russell in the Diamond League, we had (Ronald) Levy and (Hansel) Parchment, Shanieka (Thomas-Ricketts), Traves Smikle, Kimberly (Williams). Coaches and athletes in this field need more encouragement,” he said. “Not everyone is going to stay in Jamaica, but some of our best athletes will go overseas and waste their talents. It’s not like before when we (Jamaicans) didn’t have the facilities. We have the coaches and facility here now,” he argued.
Ricketts coached Shanieka to a Commonwealth Games silver medal and a NACAC title last year.
Although many local athletes look overseas to improve themselves economically and otherwise, Ricketts believes that local field events and hurdles coaches are making a huge difference in how Jamaicans perform in these disciplines in recent times, and believes that young, up-and-coming athletes can place their trust in these coaches to take them to the pinnacle of world athletics.
“I do not despise this (migration), as most do it to better themselves economically. But if some of these mentors for athletes look around, they would see that we are not doing bad. If we look at UTech, we see they have a cadre of jumpers doing well, and if you think about all the local throwers and jumpers, we are not doing too bad, we just need people to believe in us,” he said.