I was happy when I first learned that Levi Cadogan was granted a contract by Adidas as one of its stars of the future. Evidently Adidas officials have seen the potential
that the young athlete has in becoming a world-class sprinter in the future, and has invested in him by honouring him with a contract.
I am very happy for him, his family and the country. But, on the other hand, I am very sad and my heart is heavy to see that he has been badly advised to stay at home and not to take up an athletic scholarship to advance his skills and further his education. Whoever his advisers are have made a terrible decision, one that will only stymie his future progress as a world-class sprinter.
I have been following Levi’s progress for the past three years and have watched his development to become a world-class junior sprinter, even with a major flaw that the coaches have not been able to iron out. Once this flaw is corrected, he will be a force to be reckoned with in the world and one who is capable of being Barbados’ next Olympic medallist, along with Akela Jones. But it cannot be done by training here at home.
For Levi to be a world-class sprinter, he will have to be competing every weekend against other sprinters of his class. We do not have the calibre of competitive meets, athletes or coaches in Barbados required to take him to that next level.
I have heard one coach say that coaches here prepare athletes on a platter and send them to America for coaches there to get all the credit. I would certainly like to know who these athletes are that they have prepared and sent off, and are burning up the track worldwide.
Since Obadele Thompson, Barbados has not produced an athlete of his calibre. One may argue Ryan Brathwaithe and Shane Bratwaithe have shown some degree of ability, but so far they have not produce the goods in the same manner as has Thompson.
If the coaches here are making a prognostic decision based on the fact that the Jamaican athletes are homegrown, they have to realize that the entire Jamaican sports programme and attitude towards sports are completely different from those of Barbados. Jamaican athletes can afford to stay at home, because they have the facilities, quality track meets, coaches and a plethora of top-rated world-class athletes in every age group.
We have approximately 12 track clubs in Barbados and our biggest track and field meet are Nationals, yet we can only field four athletes for the finals for the premier race of track and field, the 100 metres. Barbados does not even have a premier track and field meet that can attract athletes from the other islands to compete at.
Based on the calibre of local athletes and the quality of track meets, it would be impossible for Levi Cadogan to develop into a world-class athlete training and competing here at home. It is easy to look at Jamaica, but their athletes compete at meets in Puerto Rico, Cuba, Bahamas and the United States because of their proximity to those destinations. Barbados is not afforded that luxury.
Whoever advised Levi Cadogan not to take up an athletic scholarship, but to stay at home, has made a grave error with this athlete’s future.
–– WAYNE CADOGAN
(Former national athlete)