Why Does Jamaica Has The Fastest Runners?
by Devin Saunds-Dunkley
Undoubtedly, Jamaica has been renowned for having the best sprinters of all time, whether they remain here and compete for us or they migrate to other countries and compete for them.
Many persons have quipped that it has only to do with the fact that since there is now much stricter policies involved in the testing for enhancement drugs, the playing field has been leveled as persons are now performing on their natural strength and stamina.
This question has been on the lips of many individuals since the last decade and a number of researches have been done, but there are still shades of gray on all of them as to the answer to the question.
This is so because what researchers have found is not something unique to Jamaicans, but also to a number of West Indians, but are all of us sprinters? Are all of us top runners? Some of us don’t even walk let alone run, hence the gray shades to the responses for me.
However, giving credence to some of the researches because they are conducted by reputable researchers, we can take their ideas into consideration for ourselves and form our own judgments at to what may be factual and what may be fiction.
In fact, some of the suggestions put forward contradict others as well as put a different spin on others.
One reason put forward looked at the diet and posture of the black people and even those with the Sickle Cell trait.
You can read more on that here.
This school of thought attributes our prowess on the track to the diet of yam and banana where the yam produces Hypo Steroids which acts as a stimulus and green banana produces phytate which keeps replenishing the energy used up.
The professor responsible for this research also alludes to the fact that the training from early childhood trough to high school then on to the bigger leagues, the dedication of the athletes and the physical structure of the individuals are factors that helps them to run fast.
Another reason is that coaches scout out individuals from a young age and start them off on a training programme, thus ruling out the medical factors.
However, if the diet rich in yam and banana with those stimulants and energy replacing agents are taken in from childhood, then identifying the youngsters and training them would mean that the substances are already in their bodies and is ready to be used up as they train and execute on the tracks.
Others postulate that diet, regular training - as we have the climate for training year round, unlike other nations, and the fact that the doping laws have become stricter and there are greater advances in medicine and testing so individuals are fearful of using performance enhancing drugs, hence, all nations are now competing on a levelled playfield, relying on strength and tactics only to burst the tapes in top quality finishes that set the world ablaze.
It could be a combination of all that and more, but with hard work, determination and dedication, and the need for personal gratification and ego-bursting moments, our athletes go out with a view to win and make their marks on the world stage as a force to be reckoned with each time they take to the tracks.
Genes, chemistry, biology or direct selection, whatever the reason, we Jamaicans have good reason to be proud of our athletes - at least for now :-)
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A patriotic Jamaican who adores his culture, Wellesley has been using this medium to share what he calls 'the uniqueness of Jamaica with the world' - since April 2007.
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