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posted 29 Jul 2013, 18:41 by Gerry Kangalee
In a short while our national track and field team will be in Russia for the 2013 edition of the World Track and Field Games, avoiding Edward Snowden when they pass through Russian immigration. 

In the wake of the latest doping violation scandals, many are attempting to make the drug issue the central theme of the Games especially because it involves the world's premier brand in track and field, Jamaica. 
The drug abuse theme is good copy. In the media world of sound bite and instant replay "catching" a Jamaican is like scooping a Jack Warner exclusive. Both have instant appeal and there is no need to look beneath the surface. And in the case of athletics, the feigned horror and outrage trumps all presumption of 'innocent until proven guilty". So Asafa 'let us down" as did Veronica Campbell Brown. 
What are the circumstances, what is the context, what is the final call? We do not know. What we do know is that findings like these make good copy and the story will be told more times than local politicians appeared on television during the Chaguanas West circus. Will the International Liberal Party be coming to a town near you? Please: we are talking track and field! 
The doping violation story has already lost much of its purchase anyway. Think of road traffic accidents as an analogy. People crash and die through sheer bad driving. If it is a 'name' person it becomes a lead story but Toyota will continue to advertise. The tragedy of Princess Diana did not stop Mercedes from operating. The Games will go on. 
What are our chances? Diminished I would say. Our vanguard, the male sprinters are 'old' by today's standard. As individuals they have not had outstanding seasons, though sprints, like marathons are notoriously hard to predict. Kelly Ann Baptiste seems our best individual medal hope at the moment based on form. 
The relays? The men’s team will pose a threat, while the women’s team in the 4x100m have to stop miming the West Indies cricket team. They blew it in London 2012 as they did in Beijing 2008. No hat tricks please, sisters! 
So many eyes will be on our 2012 Olympic javelin gold medallist, Keshorn Walcott. What to expect? I maintain that the javelin throw is a 'different' event. It is much like golf. What gives you the Claret jug today will see you fail to make the cut next event. A 9.9 clocking will see a sprinter into the finals most times. There are no such certainties in a field event. Keshorn will be under tremendous pressure for showing up these veterans in London, without a major championship under his belt. 

In closing: please note Trinidad and Tobago is carrying virtually the same team of officials. That makes a difference out there. I hold the view that you need people like Ian Morris and others around the team. These guys been there…done that; and Ian is still the national record holder. They in turn have to organize themselves to 'get on board". No one is going to invite them in. But that is another
story for later on.