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Jamaica
Thursday, June 24, 2021

Athletics pioneer

Former Jamaican sprinter, coach and administrator Dennis “DJ” Johnson, who died on Thursday from issues of COVID-19, has been described as “celebrated architect of Jamaica’s monitor and area edifice” and “key participant within the growth of Jamaican monitor and area”.

Tributes on Friday after information broke that the previous sprinter, who equalled the then World Report 9.3 seconds for the 100 yards 3 times in 1961, had died.

Johnson, who represented Jamaica at two Olympic Video games of 1960 and 1964, was 81.

He was a part of Jamaica’s 4x100m relay workforce that completed fourth on the 1964 Tokyo Olympics, the primary time a Jamaican workforce was making it to the ultimate.

The Jamaican monitor and area legend was additionally instrumental in establishing the sports activities programme on the then School of Arts Science and Know-how (CAST), now the College of Know-how (UTech), Jamaica.

Johnson was additionally a part of the Jamaican teaching arrange at seven Olympic Video games — in 1980, 1988, 1992, 1996, 2000 and 2004. He was additionally instrumental within the formation of the ‘Bolts of Lightning’ relay groups at CAST that had been the primary native males’s 4x100m relay workforce to run underneath 40.00 seconds,

Garth Gayle, president of the Jamaica Athletics Administrative Affiliation (JAAA), expressed his and the federation’s disappointment on the information of Johnson’s passing, describing him as an “iconic Jamaican sprinter and coach”.

“Dennis lived a protracted and full life doing what he beloved [which was] interacting with folks, particularly athletes. He by no means missed a second to impart data and essential tricks to anybody who would hear. He gave 100 per cent to his nation on all events. DJ labored properly with the Nationwide groups he accompanied overseas, giving invaluable suggestions and steering to each athlete, particularly his sprinters. He will probably be sorely missed,” he mentioned.

Gayle mentioned Johnson, who was conferred with the Order of Distinction by the Authorities in 2001, “revolutionised teaching and sprinting programmes at his base, the College of Know-how. He was a mentor par excellence, guiding many younger athletes to successes some by no means dreamt of.

“The Jamaica Athletic Administrative Affiliation sends condolence to his household, mates and numerous mentees, asking them to remain robust in these powerful occasions. Might his soul relaxation in peace,” Gayle famous.

In his tribute, president of the Jamaica Olympic Affiliation (JOA) Christopher Samuda described DJ, as he was affectionately, as “a celebrated architect of Jamaica’s monitor and area edifice and the quintessential expression of humility within the face of prodigious Olympic and different accomplishments”.

“He was a world document holder, the character of which transcended the yardage of 100 which he traversed on the monitor. He was the coach’s coach who understood the aspirations of his college students and embraced the accountability he needed to create excellence.

“Dennis Osric Johnson will probably be remembered as a devoted custodian of the values of sport and a father who nurtured many youth to imprint their spikes with timeless advantage on this planet we name Earth and mentioned, ‘The JOA displays with ineffable satisfaction on the stature of an Olympian and with reverence on the soul of a person who we knew properly and revered’,” mentioned Samuda.

Marvin Anderson, president of the Olympians Affiliation of Jamaica (OAJ), mentioned Johnson “has been hailed as a key participant within the growth of Jamaican monitor and area and an instance for others to observe”.

Johnson’s passing, he mentioned, “is a serious loss as his achievements on the monitor and off it have a profound impact on the event of Jamaican monitor and area”.

Anderson praised the previous Calabar Excessive star “for his work on the School of Arts, Science and Know-how, the place he was director of sports activities from 1971 to 2005”.

“He confirmed us that we had the potential to nurture out expertise in Jamaica,” mentioned the OAJ head.

Anderson famous that Johnson, who was fifth within the 100m at each the 1959 PanAm Video games and on the 1962 Commonwealth Video games, “went on to construct the platform for world-class athletes to be produced at dwelling in Jamaica”.

“Few folks know that DJ paved the best way for the transformation of our athletics by facilitating the placement of the MVP Monitor at UTech in 1999. His resolution has paid huge dividends for all Jamaicans,” mentioned Anderson.

Anderson, the 2008 Olympian, mentioned Johnson’s life “is an instance to all sportsmen of the Olympic spirit and was a broadly wanted lecturer on sprinting. It is painful to lose him and we convey our sympathies and assist to his household”.

Anthony Davis, who held the place of director of sports activities at UTech till not too long ago, spoke about Johnson’s work in constructing the sports activities programme at UTech.

“Dennis joined the CAST household in 1971, not as employees, [but] as a volunteer who was the sports activities growth officer for Carrera’s Sports activities Basis and operated out of an workplace at Nationwide Stadium.”

Davis, who was a pupil on the time, mentioned he recalled Johnson saying in 1971 “we will develop world document holders proper right here on CAST campus”.

“Moreover, he shared the view that for a younger establishment if we wished worldwide publicity, the surest solution to obtain that aim was to supply world class athletes,”Davis famous.

Johnson, he mentioned, “held the view that anybody with the essential bodily attributes may very well be taught to dash”.

Davis credited the “transformation of the native collegiate programme” to Johnson, and added: “Finally, the success of the home-based athletes on the worldwide enviornment. There might be no dialogue on the event and success of the native programme with out acknowledging the pioneering work by Dennis ‘DJ’ Johnson.”

 

 

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