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Winds of Change
Although, as you can imagine, the national team training camp has been an up-hill battle for me prior to the camp, during the camp, and after the camp, I have a big smile on my face, because I know that the great majority of the athletes rightfully appreciated the effort behind this project. At first glance, the sad episodes (withdrawals, ignored tests, counter-competitions....) suggest that the idea of having a national team is doomed to failure.
I don't agree!
Undoubtedly, the great majority of the athletes (even most of the ones who "had" to leave the camp) welcomed the concept and the approach. Athletes were taken care of, trained hard, and, most of the time, with great spirit.
As a start, this pilot project was very encouraging. Evidently we still have to break the wall of ignorance and the ego of a very few people who proved to be resistant to change. Change never has been and never will be an easy journey. It demands patience, energy, passion, dedication, vision and love. In my view it is happening in the track & field world already. It has started and will not rest.
The duty of every passionate track & field athlete is to blow in the winds of change. It is your duty to do so.
Obviously the outcome of this experience is not all (at all) rosy!! It is a fact that I have been disowned by the LAF which did not appreciate my style, my performance or maybe simply my person. Under difficult circumstances I was obliged to withdraw my assistance and support for the national team project. I am not disappointed, because I always expect people to act in an unexpected way. What may look like a failure masks a huge first step towards a better track & field future in Lebanon. Let us be patient, and let it be known that battle outcomes do count, but not as much as war outcomes.
I am quite optimistic about the future of our common passion in Lebanon, and I am still very bullish about it.
I heard that the national team final shape has been decided upon by the LAF. Whatever this national team is, we should respect it and support it. My style of change does not disrespect institutions and regulations. It is be counter-productive, sterile and futile to go back to the “what, how and when”!!!
All athletes selected should sharpen their focus, increase the intensity of their training and gain in self-confidence day after day. Do not listen to certain disbelievers who glide left and right with sentences such as: "we're going to be pathetic at the Francophonie games". Do your best in training (and in eating properly) and you will perform your best at the games. This by itself is change and is quite honorable.
Finally, let me share with you my frustration of letting most of you down in the midst of your preparation phase. I may have stretched my promises to you too far….Turkey, camps, int’l meetings….. and here I am quitting on you now. Believe me fellow athletes, if under the present circumstances I had the slightest hope that my input would be of any assistance, I would curb my pride and proceed further in this journey. Unfortunately, I have become for certain decision makers an “obstacle” and a “persona non grata”, and it is not feasible to force myself on this group. However, the seeds of change have been dispersed, and nothing will be the same from now on in track & field in Lebanon.
On a friendly and personal note, do not hesitate to call on me (openly or confidentially) for any advice or support you may require. Most of you understand that my approach goes beyond the insular world of clubs.
Best of luck