Racers Deny Paying Athletes To Swtich Clubs

KINGSTON, Jamaica - Racers Track Club strongly refuted claims that they are paying athletes to leave MVP to jion their group.

On Wednesday, MVP in a statement said, "Unlike another Track Club in Jamaica, MVP does not pay our developmental athletes cash.

The statement continued: “Some of our former athletes have advised us that the other Track Club pays them cash monthly, in addition to providing them with accommodation in apartments off campus, among other enticements.”

However, on Thursday night, Glean Mills-coached Racers strongly refuted MVP’s claims saying, “Racers Track Club wishes to refute any insinuation of unfair practices in recruiting our athlete members.”

Racers, stressed the point that there’s no “offer of money to attract athletes to join our club”, and that the departed MVP athletes “approached Racers on their own initiative seeking membership.”

Racers also claimed, “There was, therefore, no need for enticement. No money was requested and none was offered. None of these athletes expressed a major concern with money. They all expressed a desire to get an opportunity to train in a supportive, communicative and participatory environment.”

Since May, at least six athletes, Ristananna Tracey, Darion Bent, Nicholas Maitland, Peter Matthews, Kimari Roach and Andre Wellington have departed the UTech-based training group for Racers Track Club, which has stars such as Usain Bolt and Yohan Blake.

Racers, however, said they do help their athletes “to keep body and soul together during hard times before they become celebrities and before they excite the attention of potential sponsors.”

Assistance, according to the release, comes in the form of financial support, which seeks to take care of basic living necessities, nutrition, accommodation and medical care. The Club said it also assists their young athletes as they continue their academic education.

“We make absolutely no apology for this. Racers is a professional athletic club. This fact is generally known. Athletes come to us with a desire to be molded into professional athletes. To be a professional athlete is to be someone who makes a living from athletics.”

In closing, Racers, who said they “remain committed to the development of athletes”, said most of those who join their group do so because “apart from our world-famous coaching expertise, they have heard about the caring and communicative family environment in which our athletes train, our attention to preventative and recuperative injury management, and our constant concern for the welfare of each and every one of our athlete members.”

MVP, in their release on Wednesday, admitted there are areas of concern within their group and thus would be moving to make corrections.

“We recognize and acknowledge that there are areas in which we can improve the general and specific methods of operation for our group and will continue a process of introspection and renewal, with the continued pursuit of building better Jamaican athletes.”

Reigning Olympic 100m champion, Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce, has committed her future to the MVP Track and Field Club, amid reports of discord among senior athletes at the University of Technology (UTech)-based entity.

Fraser-Pryce, who lost her 100m World title in Daegu, South Korea, this month after finishing fourth in the final with a time of 10.99 seconds, said through the club’s Twitter account that she is now focusing on completing the final year of her degree programme at UTech and is also looking forward to begin her London 2012 Olympic Games preparation at the club in the next few weeks.

Final-year student

“I am at UTech in my final year and working hard to graduate next year and become the first in my family with a university degree,” Fraser-Pryce was quoted on the club’s official Twitter account www.twitter.com/MVPTrackclub.

“I am also looking forward to October when I start my London 2012 preparation with my MVP teammates and coach Stephen Francis,” she continued.

Fraser-Pryce restarted classes this week and is expected to begin training by the second week in October.

The sprinter’s quotes were preceded by a tweet from the account’s administrator, which criticised sections of the local media for reports which were aired yesterday, stating that Fraser-Pryce had in fact severed ties with the club.

“Anyone who reports that Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce has left MVP Track & Field Club is being irresponsible,” read the tweet.

[b]Speculation has been rife in recent days about the harmony within the MVP Track and Field Club membership after reports of long-standing differences and concerns surfaced, along with indications that at least two elite athletes were considering ending their association with the organisation.

The recent moves by the likes of national 400m hurdles junior record holder Ristananna Tracey and three other developing athletes - Kimmari Roach, Peter Matthews and Darion Bent - to neighbouring Racers Track Club, has also caused further scrutiny into the operations at the club. [/b]Share |

Interesting articles! :slight_smile:

MVP-Racers rift widens
Published: Friday | September 30, 2011 9 Comments



Orville Higgins1 2 3 >
Is there something brewing between MVP and Racers, the top two track-and-field clubs in Jamaica?

It is a fact that the two senior coaches of those two clubs, Stephen Francis and Glen Mills, have had a less-than-cordial relationship in the last few years. The reasons behind this strain in the relationship between Jamaica’s two most decorated track coaches differ, based on who you talk to, but there is no doubt that the two former friends are not likely to be on each other’s Christmas list.

This frosty relationship doesn’t necessarily reflect itself among the elite athletes of both groups. That, however, is not necessarily true of the younger recruits. I have spoken to athletes from both sides, and they concur that clubbites from one side do not tend to socialise with athletes from the other.

All of this low-key tension between the two clubs was known to the track and field diehards, but the public, at large, got an inkling into the acrimony that exists between the two sides when MVP sent out a tersely worded release to the media on Wednesday. Since May, no fewer than half a dozen athletes from MVP have switched allegiance and are now conditioned by Mills of Racers. All this naturally set tongues wagging. Speculation was rife as to what could be behind this mass exodus.

MVP’s release Wednesday stated, in part, that: " … Some of our former athletes have advised us that the other track club pays them cash monthly, in addition to providing them with accommodation in apartments off campus, among other enticements."

MVP clearly thinks that only cash could make any athlete go elsewhere, and the release spelt out a long list of things that MVP provides for its athletes. The question was asked in the release, “So why would any up-and-coming student/athlete leave such an arrangement?”

Dead giveaway

The question was both rhetorical and sarcastic. Note how the MVP president said “the other track club” when referring to Racers. Not referring to Racers by name is a dead giveaway that the two clubs have simmering tension. My sources at Racers, however, gave a different perspective. Based on what I was told, it wasn’t money that sparked the defection from MVP. It was a combination of different things, chief among them an intolerance for Francis, who they claim “must have lost his calling and was more suited to being an army drill instructor than a track and field coach”.

My source went on: “The style of Stephen is one reason (behind the athletes leaving), but different athletes also had their own individual reasons. One of those athletes that left decided to move on after they wanted him to run while the athlete was injured. Some of them left because they just were not happy with their progress over the past season. And in one case, one athlete had a bad injury and was not happy with how the club dealt with it.”

None of that, I must add, was I able to confirm with the MVP. My calls to my contact in the MVP went unanswered yesterday morning, when this article was submitted. I asked my source about the accusation of Racers bribing MVP athletes with cash, a claim which Mills rubbished in a statement issued last night. My source’s response was that unlike MVP, Racers doesn’t have ready accommodation for their athletes the way MVP has UTech. So, yes, it is true that one or two of the athletes that come to Racers are assisted financially with things like accommodation, plus all the needs that athletes have. It’s not a case of Racers paying them, it’s a question of them being assisted financially.

From my perspective, what is at play here is nothing more than the jostling that takes place in other professional set-ups. The greater the level of success for these clubs at the international level, the greater the likelihood for there to be conflict, as they compete for the best recruits.

Not all conflicts, however, are unhealthy. If the process is managed properly, it’s all for the good of the athletes and, ultimately, the country. If managed badly, however, the friction between Racers and MVP could get ugly. My hope is that good sense will prevail.

Orville H

Any updates on this? :slight_smile:

Ya I’m interested to know what’s going on over there now, as well. Sort of seems like Stephen Francis is getting painted in a drearier and drearier picture. He’s clearly developed some of the world’s best athletes, but over the years there’s been quite a few articles come out about problems dealing with him personally. He does come off a little… sour in all the interviews I’ve seen with him… but ehh… nature of the game I guess.

Racers just signed 14 new athletes to the group, including some 400m guy who is currently serving a couple

{I’m making no direct comment in deference to forum rules. The facts speak for themselves.}

SUSPENDED quarter-miler Bobby-Gaye Wilkins-Gooden is among several new athletes who have started training with the Racers Track and Field Club alongside reigning 100m and 200m world champions Yohan Blake and Usain Bolt.

Wilkins-Gooden, who tested positive for the banned selective androgen receptor modulator Andarine at the 2010 World Indoor Championships in Doha, Qatar, is listed on the club’s website as one of 14 new faces who have signed up to work under the tutelage of veteran coach Glen Mills for the 2011/12 season.

The former Holmwood Technical star is currently under a two-year ban which should end in mid-2012.

Also joining the line-up at the University of the West Indies-based Racers this season is former Louisiana State University (LSU) 400m hurdler Nickeisha Wilson.

Wilson, who won gold in the 400m hurdles at the 2010 IAAF Continental Cup in Split, Croatia, and a bronze medal at the Commonwealth Games in Delhi, India a month later, returned home from the United States a few weeks ago to begin training with Racers.

Former Seaforth High 400m runner Javere Bell, Vere Technical’s Deandre Whitehorne and national junior 400m hurdles record holder Ristananna Tracey, who ended their high school careers this season are also on the roster.

Ristananna Tracey made the switch from the University of Technology – based MVP Track and Field Club as has Andre Wellington.

Wellington is among the other males from UTech, which include Darion Bent, Nicholas Maitland, and Peter Matthews.

Dwight Mullings, the brother of embattled sprinter Steve Mullings, is also in the camp alongside Andre Clarke, Shevon Barnes, Bernardo Brad, and Davion Daye.

Jermaine Shand is now among the club’s coaching staff which also includes 1983 400m world champion, Bert Cameron, while Kevin Stewart is the new Administrative Director.


Good stuff! :smiley: