The COVID-19 pandemic has meant athletes worldwide cannot earn from the different meets all around the world and Jamaican track & field is no different.

Unlike footballers, who get paid a salary, athletes, outside of their endorsement contracts, depend solely on performing for their bread.

With sport shut down, these athletes cannot earn but the Jamaica Athletics Administrative Association will not be able to help them.

“With the resources that we have, we are just not able to compensate athletes for lost income,” said Blake in an interview with local newspaper, The Gleaner.

“We have spoken about it at the local level, and we do not have the resources to do so.”

Blake painted a grim forecast for the athletes, saying that based on the way they get paid, there would be no making up for lost income.

“I am not sure they will be able to make up for the lost earnings because they are paid to appear at meets, and if they win, there is prize money,” said Blake.

Thus far, the Jamaican government has not included athletes in its allocation of J$25 billion earmarked for COVID-19 relief, however, Blake is not opposed to speaking to the country’s relevant ministries about providing relief.

After an absence of a year, the Jamaica International Invitational (JII) will return to the track and field calendar in 2020 as a part of the World Athletics Continental Series.

 However, the meet will carry a silver designation in the World Athletics Continental World Series launched earlier year.

The Continental World Series will replace the World Challenge events as the second tier of competition under the Diamond League, and the four events that have been controversially cut, either partially or completely, from the latter competition for next season will have senior status within the new format.

The four events - triple jump, discus, 200 metres and 3,000m steeplechase - will be part of the core events in the top, or Gold level of the Tour, which will also have Silver and Bronze levels.

The JII meet was first held in 2004 and for eight years was a World Challenge meet, one tier down from the prestigious Diamond League designation. However, in 2019, due largely to financial constraints, the meet was cancelled.

“It is with regret that we inform you that due to budget issues the 2019 staging of the Jamaica International Invitational IAAF World Challenge Meeting has been cancelled,” a statement on the meeting’s website said.

However, Dr Warren Blake, President of the Jamaica Athletics Administrative Association (JAAA) said then that he was confident the meet would return in 20020. On Friday, he confirmed that the meet would be back.

According to the JII website, the meet is set for May 2, 2020.

 “There will be a meet this year,” said Dr Blake who added that Athletes’ Liaison Donald Quarrie has been assembling a quality field of athletes to participate at the meet.

However, the meet will be taken down a peg, as it will only have a silver designation among the meets that fall under the umbrella of the Continental World Series.

Dr Blake explained that following the debacle that led to the cancellation of the meet in 2019, earlier this year, World Athletics had sought assurances that there would not be a repeat of what occurred in 2019. They demanded a written guarantee that funding would be in place for this year’s meet.

However, the local organisers missed the deadline by a few days, which resulted in the meet missing the gold-level designation now enjoyed by the Racers Grand Prix set to run off in June.

Dr Blake said World Athletics will be reviewing the Continental Series at the end of the season and they are hopeful that the JII will obtain a gold designation going forward.

A press conference to announce details pertaining to the 2020 Jamaica International Invitational is set to be held sometime in March.

 

 

 

 

Jamaica’s men did not enjoy their last outing at the IAAF World Championships of Athletics in Doha, Qatar but the Jamaica Athletics Administrative Association (JAAA) is already looking into the fixes for the situation.

Jamaica’s men weren’t just woeful individually, they were also bad as a unit.

The team didn’t even manage to make the final of the 4x100 metres in Doha, an event for which the Jamaicans hold the World Record.

“We are hoping to have a few relay camps where we will have all our relay teams competing,” said Donald Quarrie, who represented the JAAA as the team’s technical leader in Doha.

In addition, the technical director is intent on getting the teams some live action.

“Definitely the Penn Relays; we are also looking at the Mount Sac Relays and two or three meets in Europe,” said Quarrie.

One of the things that the JFF official, former Olympic and World Championship medallist, pointed out was that the JAAA needed more help than they were getting from the private sector.

“These are areas in which we will need added assistance and we can’t just rely on the Government and the JAAA spending everything they have for the athletes.”

Former Executive Director of the Jamaica Anti-Doping Commission Renee Ann Shirley admits that she does not share the optimism of Jamaica Athletics Administrative Association (JAAA) president Warren Blake regarding the situation facing rising star Briana Williams.

The 17-year-old athlete recently returned an adverse analytical finding, following her participation in the Jamaica National Championship.  The athlete blamed the finding on a contaminated batch of Pharma Cold & Flu medication, which she had used to battle the effects of a cold. 

The claim that the batch of contaminated medication contained the banned diuretic hydrochlorothiazide, was verified by an independent laboratory.  Based on the circumstances, Blake had previously suggested that he was confident that Williams could be cleared, even without a hearing.  The sentences possible for the young sprinter range from a reprimand to a 4-year ban.

Anything other than a reprimand for Williams, who booked a spot on the World Championship team by finishing third at the trials, could see the athlete miss out on taking part in the event.

“I don’t see it. I don’t see that being possible,” Shirley told SportsMax Zone in an exclusive interview.

“He was giving the most optimistic scenario.  What I want to caution everybody is that we are not dealing with an athlete that’s just running as a junior, this is someone that’s considered a senior athlete,” she added.

“I think that there are going to be questions that need to be answered and the IAAF’s AIU teams and their investigative panel, even if Jamaica decides not to do it, I think that we will find out that they are paying close attention to this case and so is WADA.”    

 

  

Briana Williams was found to have a diuretic in her system and has come out to say there was no way of knowing that a cold and flu medication was contaminated. The SportsMax Blitz team hopes good sense will prevail and that the 17-year-old will face minimal if any sanctions. What should be the course JADCO takes?

Jamaica’s Kemoy Campbell, the country’s 3000, 5000, and 10,000 metres has inspired a focus on the health of athletes at the ISSA Boys’ and Girls’ Athletics Championship after his collapse due to a heart issue created a very real scare. 

Nesta Carter was slapped with a three-month suspension in 2016 when he was first informed that a retest of his urine sample taken during the Beijing Olympics in 2008 turned up positive for the banned stimulant methylhexanamine.

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