Top former sprinter Kerron Stewart (Jamaica) was in Estonia recently, holding a two-day training session ETV current affairs show "Aktuaalne kaamera" reported Monday night.
With a population of less then three million, Jamaica is comparable in size to Estonia, and yet has produced dozens of top sprinters and other athletes in recent years.
Stewart noted that the approach in that country was holistic both in terms of athletic events, and in terms of support for budding athletes from an early age.
"In Jamaica our main focus was [originally] just on sprinting, but now we have good quarter-milers, 800 meter runners, and we're building our distance program as well," she told ERR's sports portal.
"As you can see from the last world championship our field events are doing well as well, so if Estonia wants to be competitive, in track and field, I think you have to build the entire sport and not just one aspect of the sport."
This development took time to build up, and also requires support for athletes throughout the Jamaican schooling system, she said.
"[This] makes the transition at least a lot easier, so you go from basic school to primary school to high school and then on to college, and from college you go on to being a professional if that's what you choose, so there is no gap for our athletes to really get lost, but there is a good transitional phase, and we start from the grass roots – the development phase – and we just continue that process onwards," Stewart continued.
While jostling for recognition at the time with other Jamaican athletes, according to ERR's sports portal, the highlight of Stewart's career was the 2008 Beijing Olympics, where she won a silver medal in the 100 meters and bronze in the 200 meters. She has also been three times world champion in the 4x100-meter relay race.
She also holds the fastest non-winning time for the women's 100 meters
"I am one of those people whose hard work paid off; I know that my name will be included among those great sprinters, so yes, I have no regrets, and I am just grateful and privileged that I had that opportunity to leave that legacy behind.
Editor: Andrew Whyte