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Coach emphasises safety in javelin throw at schools’ meet

Coach emphasises safety in javelin throw at schools’ meet

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St Vincent Grammar School track and field coach Rawlson Morgan, says he welcomes the return of the javelin throw to the annual inter-secondary schools’ meet.{{more}}

He has, however, emphasized the need for great detail to be paid to safety for all during the staging of the event.

After several years’ absence on the local circuit, the event is slated for March 16 at the Arnos Vale 2 Playing Field.

It was, however, staged at the same venue during the Windward Islands’ school games in 2009.

The javelin, which is a spear approximately 2.5 metres (8 feet 2 inches) long, is considered an implement that can inflict injury and even death if it strikes someone.

For most of the current crop of athletes and others, it will be a relatively new discipline to them, and Morgan outlined to SEARCHLIGHT on Friday some of the best practices to be employed.

“First and foremost all safety measures must be put in place … In order to throw the javelin, you need wide open spaces and on that day, the field must be free from all other activities,” Morgan said.

“The athletes must be seated in an area close enough to the throwing, but never in front of the throwing area,” Morgan advised.

Morgan noted that this was so because at the Arnos Vale 2 venue, the wind tends to change direction at frequent intervals.

Morgan, who is also games secretary of Team Athletics SVG, the governing body for track and field and road running here, noted that the javelin must be carried properly.

“… You have to ensure that the athletes carry the javelin around properly — with the point of the javelin facing the ground,” Morgan emphasized.

He further stated that field officials give clear, unambiguous instructions to the athletes and they in turn carry them out.

“… Athletes should not go and retrieve the javelin unless they are told to do so… Neither must officials throw the javelin to the athletes – instead it must be carried to the athletes,” Morgan warned.

Morgan is also calling on the administrators to have trained medical personnel on hand, as well as a ambulance.

“ You can put safety measures in place and things can still happen … So you must have an ambulance on hand, along with trained persons who can deal with situations if they happen,” he said.

Morgan was speaking to the knowledge that many years ago, a student of the St Vincent Grammar School died after he was stuck in the head by a misdirected javelin, thrown by a fellow student.

This occurred during a practice session for the school’s inter-house track and field meet.

Last August, a field official at a meet in Germany died after being speared through the throat by a javelin thrown by a 15-year-old boy.

One month earlier, a teenaged Japanese athlete training with a group of fellow students close to where a javelin throwing session was taking place, was stuck in the head. She she survived the injury.

In St Vincent and the Grenadines Adonson Shallow holds the record for the javelin throw: 60.97m at the university meet in the USA in May 2010.

Shallow also earned this country’s last field medal at the junior Carifta games, when he placed second in 2005 in Tobago.

Before departing for the USA in 2006 to take up an athletics scholarship, he spearheaded the sustenance of the javelin throw.

Former technical director of Team Athletics SVG Gideon Labban, three years ago, sought to revive the discipline by introducing it mainly to some young female athletes. (RT).

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