Olympic medallist to Trinidad and Tobago athletes: Change mindset to challenge Jamaica
JAMAICAN Olympic medallist and sports director at UWI, St Augustine, Grace Jackson believes Trinidad and Tobago's track and field athletes need to adjust their mindsets if they want to dominate like their counterparts from Jamaica. She believes TT athletes have the potential to be "the best in the world."
She was speaking at the 2023 Pink Reign Campaign at the Hilton on Friday morning.
Jackson said TT has "far too few medals" in athletics which "does not reflect what this country actually has as talent."
She won silver in the women's 200m event at the 1988 Olympic Games in Korea.
Using her compatriots as an example, she said, "There's something about the Jamaicans that it doesn't matter if they trip, they're going to get up; if their feet are bandaged up, they're going to continue. They're going to run, they're going to jump and they're going to do it because they want to do their best."
"Maybe things come too easy and maybe it is if they just run well enough they can make a team...
"There needs to be a psychological shift in how they think of who they are and where they want to go. You got this!"
She said TT athletes must change their thoughts and attitudes, which will change their results.
"Why are you allowing Jamaica to be so dominant? You have the goods (but) you need the mindset."
She added that local coaches need to understand that they themselves are not the stars but that they are building stars.
"Athletes need to understand – no pain, no gain. You got to feel that pain. There's no shortcut."
She said it is about not finding excuses.
"I really would like to see Trinidad pivoting to a place where they're not talking about the past medals but expectations."
She urged athletes when they get recognition, they should not sit and be complacent but instead ask: What's next?
"We ask, 'Why is Jamaica getting so many medals?'
"You need to work hard, you need to feel the pain. That pain helps us navigate the real world."
Sport Minister Shamfa Cudjoe spoke of the Inter-Secondary Schools Boys and Girls Championships in Jamaica, commonly called Champs. This is a major competition in Jamaica which sees its national stadium filled to capacity annually.
Cudjoe said many people in TT say there should be something similar here.
But she said most schools in TT no longer have annual sports days, and if that is the case then champions of the various schools cannot be chosen to then compete in a major inter-school competition.
"The way we operate needs to change."
"Olympic medallist to Trinidad and Tobago athletes: Change mindset to challenge Jamaica"