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JAAA on campaign trail in Doha

Published:Saturday | May 16, 2015 | 12:00 AM
JAAA President Warren Blake (left) in conversation with Sebastian Coe, IAAF presidential candidate, earlier this year.

DOHA, Qatar:

President of the Jamaica Athletics Administrative Association (JAAA) Dr Warren Blake and General Secretary Garth Gayle are both in Doha, Qatar, for the IAAF Diamond League series opener as they ramp up their campaigning ahead of the IAAF Congress in August.

The sport's top brass will gather in Beijing, China, ahead of the 2015 IAAF World Championships to vote for a replacement for outgoing president Lamine Diack, with London 2012 organiser and two-time Olympic champion Sebastian Coe and Ukrainian pole vault record holder Sergey Bubka presenting themselves as candidates for the post.

Blake declared the JAAA's support of Coe's candidacy during the Briton's visit to Jamaica in February, but besides confirming their support here, the JAAA pair is also on the campaign trail, canvassing backing for their own candidates, who are being positioned for IAAF Council, Committee and Commission spots.

The JAAA has not had repre-sentation at the IAAF level since the passing of long-time Council member Neville 'Teddy' McCook in February 2013 and former president Howard Aris, who was a member of the IAAF's School/Youth Commission, who died in November 2011.

Blake strongly believes the organisation, given the country's traditional prowess and position in the sport at the competitive level, ought to have a presence at the highest level of administration in the sport and is confident that they

will receive the support of the other federations when voting for these positions take place in Beijing.

"We have the big event coming up in August and we have started our campaign work as well," Blake told The Gleaner ahead of yesterday's Doha Diamond League.

MEETING MOVERS AND SHAKERS

"When you come to a Diamond League meet, you meet a number of movers and shakers in the sport from across the world, and it's important to network and canvass all the federation presidents for their support," said Blake. "The support is really going to come from across the globe, and these global events are where you really get to meet people."

Blake himself is being proposed for a position on the Council, Gayle is going up for a spot on the Technical Committee, third vice-president Michael Frater is up for a post on the Athletes' Commission, second vice-president Deon Hemmings will run for a Women's Committee spot, with Allan Beckford going up for a spot on the committee that deals with distance running.

"I think we will get a substantial number, if not all of our members elected to these positions on Council," said Blake. "The view is that Jamaica is such a powerhouse in the sport and we should certainly have a voice and representation on the Council at all levels."

andre.lowe@gleanerjm.com