$1 a month: US coach to train Torres
MANILA, Philippines –For $1 a month, Marestella Torres got herself a world-class foreign coach and a whole lot more.
American track and field coach James Michael Lafferty personally took the country’s long-jump queen under his care with an ambitious goal of producing a medal in the 2016 Rio de Janeiro Olympics.
Lafferty, the present CEO of British American Tobbaco and former coach of Nigeria’s Olympic marathon team in 2012 London, said he would train Torres the way Olympic medalists train before they made it big in the world’s biggest stage in sports.
The standards are getting harder and higher, not lower, said Lafferty, who claimed to have coached numerous Olympic athletes and medalists across multiple national teams.
“If I train Marestella, the target is no less than the Olympics.”
Go Teng Kok, president of the Philippine Amateur Track and Field Association, formally accepted Lafferty’s offer Wednesday and will pay him $1 a month for his services.
Aside from shouldering the training expenses of Torres, Lafferty will also provide her with a team doctor, strength coach, masseuse, dietician and sports psychologist, among others.
“The time of athletes training by themselves is over. If you don’t have a team to train you, you can’t make it,” said Lafferty.
With the help of the private sector, he said the objective is to identify at least 20 athletes and pour all of the resources for their training in the Olympics.
“Let’s replicate the success of the Gintong Alay. The private sector has to step up and help Patafa,” said Lafferty. “I will personally bankroll Marestella. She will not pay me anything. I don’t need any money. What she gets, she keeps.”