Sun | May 28, 2017

IAAF snub a threat to Blake rule?

Published:Thursday | August 20, 2015 | 8:00 AMAndre Lowe

BEIJING, China:

Dr Warren Blake's handle on the Jamaica Athletics Administrative Association (JAAA) leadership may have loosened a bit after he failed in his bid to secure a spot on the IAAF Council during yesterday's Congress in Beijing ahead of the 15th instalment of the IAAF World Championships.

JAAA general secretary, Garth Gayle, who was the only member from the association, who was successful in gaining a foothold in track and field's corridor of power after being elected to the Technical Committee, has distanced himself from any future attempt at the JAAA throne, but there will be many suitors come next year, when elections are due.

"I am very comfortable with the president that we now have, but as you know, I am a school principal. But I am very comfortable with the contribution I am making to date. These two additions, while it won't take away too much from my day-to-day duties, I would not want to go any further at this moment," declared Gayle, who was also recently elected to Council of the North America, Central America and the Caribbean (NACAC) Association.

Blake, who tallied 51 votes from a possible 209 in the second round of voting, fell just short of the ninth and final available spot by four votes.

Though admitting disappointment, Blake congratulated Gayle on his achievement and insisted that Jamaica remains influential in the global athletics arena, despite the fact that only one of the four members up for election yesterday was given the nod by the community.

"We did well to get one on because quite a number of countries have not been represented at all at the international level. I was definitely expected to get on because of the promises that had been made and the alliances, but it did not turn out that way," said Blake afterwards. "We had 39 members vying for nine positions, so it was going to be a difficult position from the beginning."

Blake, who earlier this year declared Jamaica's support for Sebastian Coe, who replaced the outgoing Lamine Diack in the presidential race over Sergey Bubka, said: "I think Jamaica's position still remains strong because we were able to get the president elected, and that was the first order of business. Get a president elected that is favourable to you and you can get things going from there."

Coe, a two-time Olympic gold medal winner at the Olympic Games, became the IAAF president after securing a 115-92 majority win over Bubka (187), with the Ukrainian then being joined by Dahlan Al Ahmad (Qatar 159), Cameroon's Hamas Kalkara Malbout (115) and Cuba's Alberto Juantorena (111) rounding off the four vice-president spots.

Deon Hemmings-McCatty and Alan Beckford also failed to get the requisite votes for spots on the women's and cross county committees.

"We have been pushing for his (Gayle's) representation internationally, and Garth is a highly recognised technical officer, so it's really good that he got on to the technical committee and I am really happy for that. At least we will be well represented where making rules and regulations are concerned going forward," added Blake.

Gayle, who himself picked up 73 of 208 votes to secure one of 12 spots on the Technical Committee, was also thankful and says he is ready to hit the ground running.

"I am elated and happy that the members of the IAAF family could find it fit to give me their vote of confidence. It's now for me to do Jamaica proud, NACAC as well, and also the 216 members (federations)," said Gayle.

He becomes the first Jamaican to hold a position on the IAAF since the late Neville 'Teddy' McCook, who died while serving as NACAC president and IAAF Council member in 2013.

There have been whispers inside the JAAA that a challenge to Blake's leadership will be coming at the next opportunity, with the administrator who replaced Howard Aris - who died in the post in 2011 as JAAA president - said to be under threat.

It is believed that a spot on the IAAF Council would have further strengthened his position, but it's now left to be seen whether or not a challenge will take shape in the coming months.