Mumbai: This season’s Mumbai Marathon boasts of a high-quality men’s elite athlete field with 16 athletes having personal bests of below 2:10. This, apart from favourable weather conditions, has raised expectations that the course record for men (2:09:32 set by Jackson Kiprop last year) may be broken, come Sunday.
And the man the organisers should thank for the super-fast men’s field is Jos Hermens, who besides being the elite athletes’ coordinator, is also a manager and agent for runners. So what is an athlete’s agent and what does he do?
“It (a players agent) is different than a football agent as in football the team organises everything for the players. But in athletics, everybody is an individual. And we (agents) are much closer to the athletes — we are their friends, we are their coach and sometimes we are their fathers. So, our relationship is very intense, very close and very friendly,” Hermens told MiD DAY yesterday.
“We also try to educate the athletes because some of these guys in long-distance running, especially those from African countries, have not had a lot of schooling. Some have only finished primary school. So, you’re trying to coach them and give them lessons about life, sports and everything in between. An athletes’ agent is much more involved with their life,” he added.
With the curse of doping becoming more widespread in athletics, Hermens, a 10,000m runner himself, asserted that it was their job to warn and inform athletes, especially those who are not well educated. “You talk about these things (doping) with the athletes. You warn them about the harm doping causes.
“It’s very important that every time they go to the hospital, they need to let us know because sometimes they get the wrong medicine and they can have a problem. So, you speak openly with them, warn them and also explain to them the concept of dope control. “Luckily, in the case of distance runners from Africa they have so much talent that there is no need for doping,” he signed off.