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PROTRACK » GENERAL » Cool running: deal sealed to send Australian sprinters to Jamaica

Cool running: deal sealed to send Australian sprinters to Jamaica

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A "TRACK pact" between Australia and Jamaica will provide Australian athletes with unprecedented access to the Caribbean island's renowned sprints program.

Under the agreement – brokered by the Jamaica government's Business of Sport president Carole Beckford, who is part of Usain Bolt's management team, and Hayden Knowles of Sydney's Competitive Edge – a group of Australian athletes and coaches will spend a fortnight in Jamaica, hosted by its Olympics athletics coach, Maurice Wilson.

Knowles, who launched a nation-wide program to create a squad of eight sprinters, started negotiations for the deal during the London Olympics, where he celebrated Bolt's 100 and 200m victories with the champion's family, his management and close friends.

"This is a priceless opportunity to take Australian athletes to Jamaica and expose them to their systems and programs," Knowles said. "Apart from the athletes, we'll also have coaches travel to Jamaica and they'll gain a great education from observing Maurice and by asking him questions.


"We're happy to throw the doors open to any athlete, including throwers and jumpers, because Jamaica is emerging as a genuine track and field superpower. Some of the sprinters who'll be invited include the ones I found in my nationwide talent search and there's also some students from Sydney's Knox Grammar."

Beckford told The Sun-Herald by email the Australians would be exposed to a number of training facilities, including the famous G.C. Foster College.

"The college is one of its kind in the Caribbean region and has prepared Olympians, top-class coaches and a host of other national sporting champions," she wrote. "In addition, the institution continues to train support staff for national teams. As Jamaica looks towards Rio 2016, the aim of the college is to focus its attention on specific areas and the camp is one such facility."

Knowles said January was the perfect time to be in Jamaica as its star sprinters, including Bolt, would be in full training for an exciting athletics season which would culminate with the world championships in Moscow.

He said the Jamaicans shared his belief that track and field could become a great sport in Australia based on the talent that was constantly recruited by the four football codes. Indeed, the Parramatta fullback Jarryd Hayne, who Bolt watched when the Eels star competed in the Fastest Footballer race, has a standing invitation to train alongside him in Jamaica.


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