A few years ago, I read a story in one of the Jamaican newspapers that Jason “Dadz” Morgan was retiring from Athletics, due to lack of funding and support. For me, this was disturbing on many levels, because for years as a former thrower, my dream was to see a local thrower from Jamaica, break through on the international scene. This was accomplished after years of toiling by many local coaches. We have been close on a few occasions, but now here it was, the real deal! – a kid not even at his peak, but with endless possibilities.
Being one of the first to break through in an event outside of the track events in a sprint mad culture, is not always an easy thing, (I KNOW WHAT THAT IS LIKE) and worst in a country that does not invest much in Athletic development.
I remember calling Dadz after reading about his retirement. I heard his frustration, and encouraged him not to quit. I made it very clear that if he was going get any success in this event, he would have to go at it alone. He continued afterwards and against all odds, improved his performances year in year out and made some major teams and also won a Commonwealth medal in the process, all the while hoping he would get some support from the Jamaican private sector and the JAAA. His appeal for support was made louder after he threw the National Record of 68.19 in June of 2015. His performances since then, have been pretty consistent, with a best mark of 63.19 in 2016, while battling injuries and lack of funding.
I remember a kid name Asafa Powell, and another, Usain Bolt, running really fast times in Jamaica, and let me just say, they broke a few records. These performances had some in the media, major athletic powerhouses and some celebrity athletes, questioning the authenticity of these performances. I remember how hurt I felt, and how angry I became, because I know what Jamaica has done over the years to produce the likes of Asafa, Veronica Campbell-Brown, Usain, Shelly and the list goes on. I know the dejection we felt as a country, after getting to the top, to have our legitimacy questioned.
So, to read about a Jamaican official questioning Jason’s performances, really hurts, to know this man is a local product of Jamaica, a Calabar icon that can be so easily discarded is quite a tragedy. I may be wrong on this, but I thought the IOC pays for athletes to go to the Olympics once they have achieved the Olympic “A” Standard. So what is it really costing Jamaica to take him to the Olympics? I would like to know. I have visited Jason in Munroe, Louisiana, I know how hard and how much sacrifice he and his family have made, believing he would be going to Rio and for him to have another crack at making the Olympic final and possible medaling.
I am still hoping that he will get his chance to compete in Rio or at least, someone will give the world a better reason for his omission.