Sun | Dec 9, 2018

Editorial | JAAA failed Jamaica in McLeod saga

Published:Friday | March 2, 2018 | 12:00 AM

The Jamaica Athletics Administrative Association (JAAA), the governing body for athletics in Jamaica, owes the country a credible explanation of why it didn't do everything to ensure the presence of Omar McLeod, the reigning Olympic 110 metres hurdling champion, the World Indoor Championships now taking place in Birmingham, England.

In the absence of such a statement, Warren Blake, president of the JAAA, and his lieutenants should be held accountable for administrative malfeasance. They had initially put it out that McLeod, who won Jamaica's only gold medal at last year's World Championships, had withdrawn from the Indoors after he had been selected. No context!

It subsequently emerged that the matter turned on McLeod's need for a visa to travel to Britain and the JAAA's failure to provide him with a letter for his application. He wasn't in Jamaica.


Two main issues


There seem to be two issues here behind which Dr Blake and the JAAA have sought some fig-leaf protection.

The first is that McLeod's request, through his manager, came before the JAAA selected its team, so it would have indicated the certainty of McLeod's selection ahead of time.

The second matter has to do, it appears, with how McLeod's handlers framed their request. Based on Dr Blake's public statement, they asked for an invitation from the JAAA to the championship and, therefore, to Britain.

Dr Blake apparently feels more comfortable attempting to drown himself in a slurry of semantics than pursuing the best interest of a Jamaican athlete.

If Dr Blake believes such efforts are too onerous, or the JAAA thinks these to be petty chores that are below the organisation, they should move over. After all, the glory gained by Jamaica's athletes belongs not to them alone. We all share in it.