Jamaica’s medical exemption rule seems to be causing some stir in Rio, as the JAAA is now faced with having to conduct fitness tests by August 8, so they can make final event submissions. Of note, is the fact that the August 8 deadline is not an International Olympic Committee standard, but rather a date set by the JAAA.
The final submissions for events can be submitted before the day of the event and as such, there are question marks as to why the process is being rushed. Stephen Francs, coach of Shelly Ann Fraser- Pryce and head of the MVP Track Club, in an interview with the Gleaner, questioned why is the JAAA in a rush to have these tests done, when submissions can be made the day before the event.
Francis went to insinuate that these tests are unnecessary for some of his athletes and explained that in the case of Janieve Russell, who’s 53.96 puts her 4th in the world and in medal contention. He further explained that the time makes her more than a second faster than all other Jamaican females in the 400m hurdles and has nothing to prove, as in his view; his charges are in a different league from others.
Francis, hailed by many as one of the world’s best coaches and is no stranger to controversy and differences of opinions with the JAAA. He has on prior occasions spoken openly about their administration and stressed the need for improvement in his view.
Elaine Thompson, Usain Bolt, Hansle Parchment and Russell, were all granted medical exemptions from the 2016 National Senior Championships at the National Stadium. Bolt has since proved his fitness with a 19.89 clocking, however in the case of Parchment, he has only managed a pedestrian 13.55 and news emerged through the Gleaner this evening, that he has decided to relinquish his position on the team to Andrew Riley, as he still has injury concerns.
Elaine Thompson won the 100m at the National Championships, 10.70secs, equaling the National record. She didn’t line up in the 200m and it was later revealed that she has an injury, for which the exemption was granted. Thus, she too will have to prove her fitness, as there is a certain Kali Davis- White, who finished third at trials, waiting in the wings.
Janieve Russell will have to pull out all the stops to show she is ready, because there is a certain Kaliese Spencer, at the edge of her seat waiting to exhale.