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Gibson Relays looking to extend benefits to other Caribbean islands

Published:Thursday | February 26, 2015 | 12:00 AMNeville Johnson

Gibson Relays looking to extend benefits to other Caribbean islands

The Gibson McCook Relays might soon be extending its athletics culture to other Caribbean islands, as soon as the president of the North and Central American and the Caribbean, the regional branch of the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF), gives the nod.

Chairman of the Gibson McCook Relays organising committee, Professor Rainford Wilks, suggested that talks are currently under way, and if everything goes according to plan, other islands will be given the opportunity for their athletes to be trained and developed and become world leaders. He was quick to point out that the main objective of the plan would be to identify talents that can be moulded and transformed into top-class athletes.

"This does not necessarily mean that an

all-Caribbean track team will be formed out of this. This is not on the agenda at this time and I do not know if we will ever have such a team. I think the region is better off with its individual talents. Any such move would see island, such as Jamaica dominating, which would not be fair for the other smaller islands," noted Wilks.

According to the professor, Jamaica is the number-one island in the world in track and field, it has both an absolute and a comparative advantage in this area and it would not go down well with the other islands of the region.

"It will be better to try and develop other athletes from other islands so that they can represent their individual islands. This will allow them to represent themselves at both regional and extra-regional competitions," added the chairman.

Wilks believes that a Gibson McCook Relays management team will play a critical role in shaping the region's young men and women who have an interest in track and field and who would like to make it as a career. He noted that the Gibson Relays has a wealth of experience in track and field, with over 40 years in the business, adding that some of the world's top athletes have benefited from the Gibson Relays over the years.

New budget

For the Gibson McCook Relays' management team to embark on this expedition, they will have to come up with a budget and how such budget will be funded and by whom. Although nothing concrete has been agreed on with the president of the IAAF, the discussions are still going on and it seems as if it will be sooner rather than later, before it comes into full swing.

However, the committee must be very careful of the variable cost factors that will step in. For this venture to be successful, it will have to get full support from the IAAF, both in terms of funding and personnel. Then the individual governments will have to play a critical part in the overall dispensation of attaining its objectives. Venture into other Caribbean islands with the Gibson Relays brand must be carefully weighed and measured in terms of associated costs.