“There is life after your chosen sport”- JAAA President Garth Gayle urges young athletes to take education seriously

By April 13, 2023
JAAA President Garth Gayle JAAA President Garth Gayle

With the vast improvement in the performances of Jamaican juniors in track & field over the last few years, there has been a steady increase in the number of athletes who forgo a tertiary education to pursue a professional career immediately after high school.

While Jamaica Administrative Athletics Association President Garth Gayle admits there is nothing the administration can do to prevent this, he is urging athletes to think about life after track & field when making these decisions.

“I’ve always said education is the means by which any individual will be able to make good in years to come,” Gayle told SportsMax.TV.

“So, these are young athletes that are doing exceptionally well in their chosen disciplines within track and field. We believe that it is best for them to reach a particular age or at least a level of experience because getting into the senior elite program is not easy. There is some level of protection within the schools or within the education system and I believe they should relish and seek to benefit from that rather than to be making the rush too early,” Gayle added.

He did point out, however, that there are some clubs out there that prioritize athletes’ education while giving them an opportunity to compete professionally.

“There are programs and clubs that allow for these junior athletes to be properly prepared and taken care of, including their education. Usain Bolt when he made the move from William Knibb into the High-Performance Centre and continued his education as well because there was that support base and he was able to earn very well,” he said.

Gayle, who is also principal of the Charlemont High School, then had a message for young athletes in all sports, not just track and field.

“Those that are making this transition, remember your education because there is life after your chosen sport. It happens in all the various sports. As an educator myself, I believe the more you can be protected and get the necessary guidance, it will allow an athlete to stay with the sport a lot longer,” he said.

“There will come hiccups and when they come, and you don’t have that support base, Jamaicans are hard task masters. We demand a lot from our sportsmen and women, more so in track and field. It is on that basis that I would want to be cautious but we can’t stop it. We would want to provide as much encouragement and guidance towards one’s development through education,” Gayle said.


Bradley Jacks

Bradley Jacks is a budding journalist and an avid sports fan. His love of research and sports has led him to SportsMax.tv, a place where those passions work hand in hand to allow him to produce content.

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