Follow Jamaican example - Bolt

SIMON PLUMB
Last updated 05:00 09/10/2012
DANIEL GALVIN

Usian Bolt talking about his time in NZ.

Usain Bolt
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Usain Bolt arrives at the New Zealand Breakers gym.
Usain Bolt
PETER MEECHAM/Fairfax NZ
USAIN BOLT: "We have great coaches. You can have all the talent but you have to have good coaches, facilities and great minds to teach the mentality to be great."

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Usain Bolt has suggested Sport Minister Murray McCully should pay close attention to Jamaica's coaching structure if he wants to lead New Zealand sport into a more successful future.

While Bolt made a brief appearance in New Zealand yesterday, McCully is in the Caribbean for bilateral discussions with the Jamaican government.

One of the items on McCully's agenda is sport, hoping to understand what makes Jamaica one of Olympic sport's best performing nations per capita. New Zealand won 13 medals at London 2012, one more than Jamaica. But while New Zealand sent 184 athletes the Jamaican team consisted of just 50.

Already the nations share key philosophies, such as targeting certain sports heavily in an attempt to make their smaller population, and cash resources, go further. 

Bolt says from an athlete's point of view it's important that athlete's don't just have access to good coaching, but the best.

"Jamaica has boys and girls championships which are the highest level for kids and that's what brings out so much talent," Bolt said.

"But we have great coaches. You can have all the talent but you have to have good coaches, facilities and great minds to teach the mentality to be great.

"It's about a lot more than talent, that's one of the things my coach taught me. On the top level everyone's got talent, it's just about how you work on it and develop it.

"You have to have great coaches to develop talent."

Many of New Zealand's top Olympic athletes, including Valerie Adams, Nick Willis and Andrea Hewitt, already base their training campaigns overseas - predominately for coaching reasons.

McCully has already hinted that the Kiwi eye may not be on sprinters per se, but middle distance running - with the likes of 2008 Olympic silver medallist Nick Wills continuing a rich vain of New Zealand heritage.

In return, McCully has suggested New Zealand might be prepared to offer Jamaica knowledge in rugby.

"I have got one or two [coach] names that are very well known in mind. I would want to ask your people to think who they might lend us for a few weeks," McCully told Jamaica's Sunday Gleaner. 

"We are here to try and establish some links. I don't imagine that New Zealand is overnight going to produce world-class sprinters, where we do have a history in middle distance. 

"I am looking for any of the institutional ways in which we can learn to bring talented youngsters through.

"In return, New Zealand has some expertise in rugby."

McCully suggested any future arrangement may even be "short-term secondments" and not necessarily permanent contracts - a tactic would could improve the chances of accessing Jamaica's best coaching.

"The most beneficial thing is visits by coaches and technical people who can come along and spend some time with our people, rubbing shoulders and sharing ideas," he said.

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"I don't think it needs to be long term. Short-term secondments are the sort of thing we might try first."

- Fairfax Media

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