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The latest edition of Justice Patrick Robinson’s book on Jamaican athletics, had its official United Kingdom (UK) launch at the Jamaican High Commission, in London, on July 13.
The edition is titled, ‘Jamaican Athletics – A Model for 2012 and the World’, and Justice Robinson said he was motivated to write the book to answer questions around the reasons why Jamaica has excelled in athletics and has been able to consistently outperform much bigger and far better resourced countries.
In seeking to answer the questions, the book isolates many factors. It begins with the very long history and tradition of athletics in Jamaica, dating back to the inter schools championship (in 1911) , when Norman Manley was the outstanding performer, winning six events and establishing the 100 yards record which lasted for around 40 years.
He told the audience that one legacy of Jamaica’s long history and tradition in athletics was that Jamaican athletes have always had role models and heroes to emulate, because the island has always produced athletes of international calibre.
According to Justice Robinson, the system of athletics instruction and administration that has evolved since the early 1900s, has been a key part of Jamaica’s success as a sporting nation.

Justice Patrick Robinson (right), having a light exchange with Deputy Secretary-General of the Commonwealth, Ambassador, Ransford Smith (centre) and Denis St. Bernard, of the Jamaica Enterprise Network, United Kingdom, at the launch of his book: ‘Jamaican Athletics: A Model for 2012 and The World’, at the Jamaican High Commission, in London England, on July 13.

“I acknowledge in the book that Jamaica is blessed with natural talent. However, I totally reject the thesis that our success is either wholly or mainly due to that factor. In fact, the book makes the point that Jamaica’s outstanding performance in global athletics is due to the intellect, foresight, administrative and managerial skills and the generosity of a unique band of individuals who have worked to establish the foundation for Jamaica’s success in athletics,” he said.
High Commissioner to the UK, Burchell Whiteman, who commended Justice Robinson on the book, said it represented the best of Jamaica.
“Patrick Robinson is primarily a legal person, but he has had a passion for track and field and he has written very eloquently about it. He has done the research, he has made his study and has drawn conclusions and written a very compelling study on the subject. It is a first class work,” Mr. Whiteman said.
Making reference to a recent negative television portrayal of Jamaica, Mr. Whiteman said while the camera does not lie, producers are very selective in what they show.
“My truth is that Jamaica is not without its problems, and many are serious problems. However, Jamaica is a place of survival, a place of success, a place of great achievement. In our society, in our country’s systems, in its achievements, we have something to celebrate. Our small size does not prevent us from giving the world great gifts in academia, in the legal profession, in music, the arts, and track and field,” the High Commissioner said.
Justice Robinson, who is a specialist in International Law, was a member of the International Law Commission and a former President of the Inter American Commission on Human Rights.