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Losing Lottery funding....

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Losing Lottery funding....

Postby shivfan » Sun Aug 01, 2010 8:24 am

I was listening to Andy Turner being interviewed after getting his gold medal, and he was talking about his trials and tribulations after losing Lottery funding. He was talking about how he now had to find money to pay for his masseur, his physio, etc. Is that how it works? Does the athlete have to pay for his own support services when he or she doesn't have Lottery funding? Surely, that's a service provided by the club you join, doesn't it?

I must admit, I don't know much about the British club system, and I would love to get feedback on this. However, I can describe the Jamaican system, and how it's changed over recent years....

In the past, athletes would come to prominence and then gain an athletics scholarship to the US, which would be their ticket out of poverty, or the like. The US college would then provide all the support services, plus an education. But there were drawbacks too - the college was mainly interested in the athlete's contribution to the NCAA, and not focussed on summer Games. Also, once the student career was over, the athlete was out in the cold. Hence, why quite a few Jamaican athletes were out of form when the summer Games came around.

Then, along came MVP, and then Track Racers. Now, a rural athlete from Trelawny, for example, shows promise in his junior career. He attracts the attention of MVP, where the Francis brothers 'audition' him. Stephen is his coach, and what Stephen says goes. Paul signs a deal with the athlete to become his manager, for a cut, of course. MVP is attached to the University of Technology, in the leafy, quiet Kingston suburb of Mona, where I grew up. 8) MVP, in association with UTech, provide the support services - albeit in fairly spartan circiumstances - that the athlete needs. That includes masseur, physio, etc. All the athlete needs to concentrate on while he's at MVP is following the coach's orders. The same goes for Track Racers, which is affiliated to the University of the West Indies, which is also in Mona.

Hence, why Jamaica's performances have improved in recent times. Surely, it's better for young athletes to follow this route. How can they improve if they have to worry about how they're going to fund their support services? It seems counter-productive to be providing these services for the successful athletes, such as Ennis, Farah, Greene, etc., while not providing them for upcoming athletes, and those who're going through a rough patch.

Am I misreading the club situation? Please put me right if I'm wrong....
shivfan
 
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Postby whirlpoolsend » Sun Aug 01, 2010 8:45 am

Interesting info there.

No the clubs provide little if anything in relation to that type of support. There are sometimes volunteers who will provide some massage services on a club night or individuals attached to a club who give additional financial support to some individuals or teams whithin the club. There are so many clubs which survive from the membership subscriptions of the athletes that they arent in a position to support the athletes by paying out for these types of services. Also the top athletes in this country are spread amongst some big clubs and some very small clubs each with their own different financial situation and priorities for themselves.
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Postby whirlpoolsend » Sun Aug 01, 2010 8:51 am

I should also say that I found it good that Andy spoke of the support services rather than a focus on the money itself. It shows that it is important to him to be fit and healthy and ready to race and his primary objective is to be a good athlete.

He also had no whinges and was very positive about his win rather than a focus on what he has been through to get there, he was just happy to win and made that his focus as opposed to alot of the sob stories we get to hear in the interviews. I sympathize that many have had it tough but we are in a great country for support and help that is available whether funded or not. Many of the poorer European nations still produce some good results with far more limited resources.
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Postby shivfan » Sun Aug 01, 2010 9:31 am

Thanks for that feedback....

Yes, Britain's a much wealthier country than Jamaica, but I do feel that the lottery money is not being properly targeted if potential young athletes are not getting that kind of specialist support.

With regards to MVP and Track Racers, it's there connections with the two universities in Kingston that provide these services at very little cost. For example, the physios and masseurs who teach and work at UTech and UWI respectively are also directors of MVP and Track Racers respectively, so the cost of their services are all tied up with the managerial deal that's signed at the outset with these athletes. Because MVP is based at UTech, and Track Racers is based at UWI, these medical professionals don't even have to leave the campus to provide the services that these clubs need.

I just thought these two models are useful ways in which poor countries can overcome financial constraints in order to produce successful athletes....
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