JAAA backs Lord Coe
President of the Jamaica Athletics Administrative Association (JAAA), Dr Warren Blake, confirmed the association's support for IAAF presidential candidate Sebastian Coe, as the Englishman touched down on the island yesterday afternoon.
Lord Coe, a vice-president of the IAAF and a double Olympic 1500m champion, will use his brief visit to share his vision for the sport to members of the Jamaican athletics fraternity, tour the island's facilities and visit two development meets.
Coe will face-off against fellow IAAF Vice-president Sergey Bubka later this year, for the race to succeed incumbent Lamine Diack, who will not be seeking re-election.
We do have a vote as well. It will be remiss if I said he is not our (JAAA) favourite candidate, but we would like to hear from Mr Bubka as well," said Blake, who pointed to Coe's manifesto as the main reason behind the JAAA's backing.
"The decision to support Coe was based on the fact that we support the pillars of his manifesto. As a federation, as an organisation, we need to embrace change and to lead the change through innovation like the street festival and street athletics programmes (advanced by Coe). We have to take the athletics to the people, the IAAF has to lead in this regard and Coe intends to push along," Blake said.
"Lord Coe sees the importance of giving more power to the federations and importantly, maximising the commercial growth and the exposure of track and field," said Blake. "We also need to build integrity and strengthen the anti-doping programme.
"Based on those concrete positions and the focus of Lord Coe's vision for the sport, we feel comfortable in supporting his candidacy," Blake added.
The JAAA boss, while sharing his views on what Coe's visit means for the island, noted that he will be looking to learn how the country would stand to benefit if the London 2012 architect is elected to the top IAAF job.
"Lord Coe's visit shows that our efforts are not going unnoticed. It shows that he places significance on Jamaica and the region," Blake noted.
"For Jamaica, it's important for us that the funding of track and field and the availability of high-level coaches in the different disciplines that we are not strong in is addressed," said Blake. "Other member federations have trouble securing different levels of expertise and the IAAF needs to step up and offer more support in these areas."
"We will be suggesting that and other things to him," he said.