Das Bild zeigt rechts ein Trichterglas mit blauer Flüssigkeit und Glasstab zum Umrühren. Daneben steht ein Reagenzglasständer mit Reagenzgläsern, die ebenfalls blaue Flüssigkeit enthalten. Im Hintergrund ist ein Forscher zu sehen, der in der rechten Hand eine Pipette hält.

12-05-15 Jamaika

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The secret of the Jamaican sporting prowess: Talent, training programs in schools and yam

At the German-Jamaican Sports Forum, fans, scientists and medical experts discussed the Jamaican success in sports together with Patrick Robinson and Merlene Ottey.

© Birger Meierjohann (Jamaica Tourist Board)

Merlene Ottey had to fight back tears when she thanked the Jamaican Embassy in Germany for the award she received during the Sports Forum in the Center for Sports Science and Sports Medicine of the Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin on 15th May 2012. "It is good to be back and to say "thank you" once again," said the exceptional athlete, Merlene Ottey. During the World Championships in Athletics in Stuttgart in 1993 she finally won her first individual Gold Medal after many years of unfortunate seconds at the international level in elite sports for over 13 years. She remembered, fondly, the standing ovation she received from the people of Germany. Now she has been awarded by the Jamaican Embassy for her achievements and her strength. During the Sports Forum she toured the facilities of the CSSB, learning more about the opportunities of performance diagnostics as well as functional and motion analysis at the CSSB.  Also included on the tour were the Ambassador of Jamaica, Joy E. Wheeler, and Judge Patrick Lipton Robinson, former President of the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY).

In commemoration of Jamaica's 50th Anniversary of Independence, the Embassy and the interdisciplinary Center for Sports Science and Sports Medicine Berlin of the Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin convened a Sports Forum on which the Jamaican success in sports was discussed. During the Summer Olympics 2008 Jamaica came fourth in athletics behind the USA, Russia and Kenya. Measured by the population, Jamaica has been one of the most successful nations in track and field. An ardent follower of global athletics, Judge Patrick Robinson justified the prowess with the variety of training programmes for children and young adults. He noted that, "the stellar achievements of Jamaican athletes on the international stage particularly in track and field, from as early as 1948, are as a result of the development of a system of athletic administration and training that started some 100 years ago".

© Birger Meierjohann (Jamaica Tourist Board)
© Birger Meierjohann (Jamaica Tourist Board)

As a positive example for encouraging young talents he identified, CHAMPS, the biggest high school track and field tournament in the world. CHAMPS started in 1910 with six competing schools. Today boys and girls from over 150 schools compete in various track and field disciplines. "CHAMPS is at the heart of the athletic system which is a model for the world and is key to the development that has taken place," says Patrick Robinson. In addition to public and private funded programs every Jamaican school has a trained coach who teaches sports and fosters young talents. During his talk he couldn't help mentioning various times the natural talent of the Jamaicans and their nutrition as a possible reason for their success. Like Usain Bolt mentioned in 2008, the reason for the success could also be found in one of Jamaican's popular food, YAM.

The CSSB is also interested in the secret recipe of the sporting prowess of the Jamaicans.  Prof. Dr. med. Karsten Dreinhoefer, representative of the CSSB Board and Head of the department Musculoskeletal Rehabilitation, Prevention and Health Services Research was fascinated by the great efforts Jamaica has invested in their school training programs and has been pleased that the Sports Forum was a first step to increased dialogue and collaboration with Jamaica: "I am positively surprised by the enthusiasm and commitment for sports and I very much hope that we can learn a lot from each other". At the subsequent reception all participants discussed the presented suggestions as well as opportunities for further cooperation.