Former sprint star Michael Frater has said that part of the inspiration behind starting his track club, Titan International, is to see Jamaican males in track and field pick back up again.
According to Frater, the nation’s males have fallen off, particularly in the sprints, something he believes is attributed to the lack of dedication to the sport.
“I think it’s the dedication and the sacrifice that’s needed to take yourself to the next level. Every year, we have great athletes coming out of Champs, so it is not like we don’t have the talent,” Frater told BUZZ.
“It is just for the guys to just to dedicate themselves and make the sacrifices to becoming the top in the world. There’s no shortcuts to becoming the best in the world,” Frater added.
Sharing from his own personal experience, Frater said that for almost a decade he had no social life, an aspect of his life that he had to forgo in order to remain competitive.
“When I was competing, you know, I basically never had a social life for 10 years of my life,” Frater said.
“Many people, will see Usain out there partying but they don’t see the work that he’s doing,”added Frater, as he sought to explain the mind set of most young athletes.
Everyone is not Bolt
According to Frater, while most young athletes seek to emulate his fellow colleague Usain Bolt, the fastest man in the world, Frater said Bolt is the exception and not the rule.
Frater shared that while Bolt was fortunate enough to be able to blend the party lifestyle with athletics, Bolt’s work ethic was exceptional.
“I trained with him for about two years and he’s one of the hardest workers that I’ve ever seen,” Frater said.
“ A lot of these guys nowadays they’re only enjoying themselves, and not realising the sacrifices that it takes to be not the best in Jamaica, or the best in the Caribbean but best in the world. So that means, buckle down, make some sacrifices, because your track and field career is not going to last a lifetime,” added Frater.
Track careers are as long as the sprints – they’re quick
According to Frater, most track careers aren’t long, he said most athletes were lucky to have a career that surpass four years.
“If you’re lucky enough, you’ll have a career of over four years, other than that, I mean, the first one or two years when you’re not performing, you’re going to be cut by a shoe contract or something like that, “ Frater said.
“It is a short lived career, most athletes are finished by 34 or under. Rarely one in how many million you’ll find an athlete that goes to 38 or 39. So, most careers are finished by 34. So you don’t have long,” Frater added.
Frater shared that given the average length of track and field careers, athletes should make the most of them, noting that persistent injuries often force sprinters to end their careers even earlier than they would want, using himself as an example.
While grateful that he was able to have a career that spanned over a decade; Frater said he’s now committed to helping emerging talent in the sport with Titan International.
Frater said his club is comprised of coaches who were athletes so they’ve got firsthand experience and this is a potent differentiator between his establishment and others in the market.
In Frater’s camp so far are Yohan Blake and Jevaughn Minzie, sprinters who the retired athlete said he is hoping to help return to their glory days.
The glory days are what Frater wants to see more of from local male athletes, noting that if he had to make a wish for the Olympics, it would be to see at least one male on the podium in the sprints.
“For a male to be on the podium for the sprints, I think our males have fallen off a little, he said.
“ So I would just love for the males to step it up at the Olympics, at least get a medal in either 100m or 200 m. The competition for the Olympics for the Women’s 100 m is pretty much among Jamaicans, so you know I just like to see one of the guys just step up and able to get us back , if not on top but definitely among the medals,” he added.