The privilege of survival to read the opener to Foster’s Fairplay’s 2016 journey is much for which to be thankful. It mirrors what was wished for its audience over the festive season and beyond.The enhanced opportunity that Christmas offers to renew acquaintances with those hardly ever seen was most welcome. There was a plethora of expressions of appreciation for views exposed, whether or not there was agreement. That was the gift of a lifetime. While it is comforting to know that there is an audience, the resultant applause is even more so.Gratitude is extended to avid sports enthusiast Emile Spence for mentioning something that a sadly departed mentor, Jimmy Carnegie, would have described as “sloppy”.Sorry, Jimmy for not following your advice to “check for accuracy before stating what is claimed to be fact”.In last week’s column, the Sunshine Girls’ coach was referred to as Jill Patterson – albeit a star in her own right in the netball pantheon – a many-time national representative. The reference should have been Jill McIntosh. Apologies to any reader who might have been temporarily confused.The year 2016 is at hand. This being Olympic year, the spotlight is on track and field, which is once again expected to sparkle.This column has been traditionally critical of the stewardship of the sport as administered by the Jamaica Athletics Administrative Association (JAAA). This is not to say that there have not been noteworthy features. The annual Golden Cleats Awards, where participants at various levels receive distinguished mention, is one. The maintenance thereof is commendable, although the award base could be a bit more expansive – a subject for further ventilation.TEAMSELECTIONWith Rio in mind, Foster’s Fairplay is pleased to ease the pressure on the JAAA, if only momentarily. Apart from naming the team for competition, which can be a pain-free process (Oops!), all the main activity preparatory to the ‘Greatest Show on Earth’ falls under the canopy of the Jamaica Olympic Association (JOA), Mike Fennell’s JOA.One can sense a question from the readership: “Why the presence of Dr Paul Wright’s favourite word, “Oops”!Simple. Team selection to major events in track and field comes after national trials for which policy guidelines are predetermined and published. As such, there can be no missteps in the execution. Even so, this columnist clings to that “Oops!”. Sufficient, until the time.The dialogue now is what has been a distastefully contentious feature of past global competitions – preparation camps for the flagship sport. Vigorous, verging on vitriolic debates have ensued as to whether or not they should be mandatory. This, not only pertaining to attendance by all athletes, but if they should exist at all.The tug-o-war led to a ban on the Stephen Francis-led MVP athletes at the 2009 Berlin World Championships, ruling them out of participation.It took intervention from the organisers, the IAAF, to set the situation back on an even keel.One hopes that an initiative to avoid any semblance of a camp-related dispute is already under way. Jamaica needs to be building on its multiple-medal profile as of Beijing, 2008, further embellishing its image and seeking to enhance the lustre.GAININGMORERESPECTAll the energies and enthusiasm need to revolve around earning plaudits for the land of Bob Marley and the Reggae Boyz and that our people gain more respect in the global sphere.That glow of quality must not be allowed to be diminished by a quagmire of questionable quests for one-upmanship and throwing poison darts at one another.Foster’s Fairplay has a few suggestions. Foremost, that the JOA convene a forum, inviting a representative body of all stakeholders destined to descend on the Brazilian city this summer.Views must be candidly voiced on the necessity of a camp and if attendance should be compulsory. Given what will surely be a divergence of opinion, the JOA must issue an informed ruling for or against.The Foster’s Fairplay view is that camps only serve relay practices. Place the funds saved for the non-staging into a pool and collaborate with the meet directors on the professional circuit. From this could come a substantial increase in prize money for the far too infrequent relays in that arena.Decision-makers must think on these things.n For Feedback: Email [email protected]
Ex-Saint Will Smith gunned down in case of road rage NEW ORLEANS (AP): Former New Orleans Saints player Will Smith was shot and killed in a case of road rage by a man who had rear-ended his car, police said yesterday. Smith was beloved by fans for his role in bringing a Super Bowl championship to New Orleans in 2009, though the defensive captain also found himself at the centre of the NFL’s bounty probe in 2012. Smith’s slaying rippled across the sports world, with figures from NBA star LeBron James to NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell offering their condolences. James said on Twitter: “So sad man. Good dude he was man!” There was no indication Smith, 34, knew 28-year-old Cordell Hayes before the deadly confrontation or that anything except the car wreck led to the shooting. Monaco wins US Men’s Clay Court HOUSTON (AP): Argentina’s Juan Monaco took advantage of defending champion Jack Sock’s aching shoulder and leg cramps to rally for a 3-6, 6-3, 7-5 victory yesterday, winning his second US Men’s Clay Court Championship nine months after major wrist surgery. The 32-year-old Monaco, also the 2012 winner at River Oaks, held off a surging Sock in the third set after taking a 4-1 lead. Sock won the next four games but suffered the decisive break in the 11th game when, with his left thigh apparently cramping under the cloudy, humid conditions, missed an underhanded serve. Early in the match, Monaco also received attention from the trainer for an apparent back issue. Sock, the 23-year-old American seeded fourth in defence of his lone ATP World Tour title, said after the match that he had begun feeling poorly with flu-like symptoms Saturday night. He had won 17 consecutive sets in the event, dating to his first-round match last year.