A THORNY ISSUE: Father Fraser knew best
ONE GOOD THING about Mary Fraser’s success at the recent CARIFTA Games is that it went some way in clearing up certain perceptions some held about her father who also coaches her.
It’s an open secret in athletics circles that Floyd Fraser has often been accused of being excessive in his training methods of Queen Mary.
They talk about how hard he works her around the Garrison.
Another one that makes the rounds is that he forced her out of track to take up boxing instead.
Turns out that some people got it wrong. I always say if you think it is your right to pry into others’ business then it is best to go directly to the root to get your information; the stems and branches can’t know more than the roots.
And so it was that I got the opportunity to speak to Floyd last Tuesday night when the team returned from St Kitts and Nevis.
I had spoken to him once previously in 2011 when the first sign of Mary’s precocious talent was noticed as a first former at St George Secondary School when she caned much older girls in the girls 3 000 metres open at the Barbados Secondary Schools Athletic Championships (BSSAC).
So I intended our conversation last Tuesday to be a no-holds-barred interview based on all of the rumours that were being spread and it turned out to be just that as Floyd opened up freely because I was very straightforward in my approach and questioning.
He relished it and was subsequently keen to respond in like manner. We were on the same path to unravel the mysteries or the rumours depending on how you viewed the plot from a distance.
Mary’s dad dismissed the notion that he forced her into running. He said it was quite the opposite because she was able to keep up with him when he ran as part of his fitness regime as a boxer.
He confided that at first he thought it was a fluke that she was able to keep up with him on the road but after time he recognised from about age six, Mary was a natural and decided to train her seriously. Up to this juncture, we can see, as the saying goes, the rest is history.
Fraser then dispelled the accusations that his training methods are too rigid. He matter-of-factly said this couldn’t be so because the results speak for themselves, while gloating in the truism that he isn’t a certified coach but is still able to get affirmative results.
He even had a logical explanation why he switched his daughter from
St George Secondary to Daryll Jordan although we are only left to ponder how much further developed her middle and long distance running would be if she wasn’t inactive for over two years.
As a pugilist, he knows what it’s like to have his back against the ropes and an attempt was made by the public to pin him there, as some wondered why he took the ebullient athlete out of track and put her in the boxing ring.
Once again he insisted it was his daughter’s choice as she grew up accompanying him to the gym and wanted to try it. I detect that there’s an extremely strong father/daughter chemistry between them and both are comfortable with the choices they have made.
The public’s intrusion is definitely not necessary as the Frasers are following a road map that is working even if some believe dad’s methods are unorthodox.
She is a natural and he is passionate about seeing her conquer the world but only because she is on a mission to be the best in the world. He was perhaps the only one who wasn’t excited about her excellent performances at CARIFTA because, as he explained we don’t know how good she is and he does.
Mary is at a stage where she may not have to make a choice as yet between track and boxing, but I truly believe that in another two years the two might collide and it will have to be done. I have heard good things too about her boxing skills and if they match her running it could be a difficult choice for her.
I am sure her single-minded dad will give her the best advice but will leave the final choice to her, as he says he always does.
Floyd Fraser doesn’t seem, after all, to be the enigma many make him out to be.
• Andi Thornhill is an experienced,award-winning sports journalist. Email: [email protected]