Champs poses World Indoor challenges for JAAA
With next month's IAAF World Indoor Championships overlapping with the ISSA/GraceKennedy Boys and Girls' Athletics Championships (Champs), general secretary of the Jamaica Athletics Administrative Association (JAAA), Garth Gayle, admits there are challenges, but is confident of putting together a strong team of athletes and officials in particular.
The JAAA's selection committee will meet shortly to select a team to represent Jamaica at the March 17-19 event, which takes place in Portland, USA, but with the interest-hogging 'Champs' taking place inside the National Stadium from March 15-19, filling the coaching and management positions on the delegation might provide some headaches for the administration.
Gayle noted that most of the island's top coaches and management representatives are deeply involved with high-school teams, which will be competing at Champs and are unlikely to be available for the World Indoor Championships.
"Naturally, for sure, it (Jamaica's World Indoor Championships selections) will be affected. Management personnel, for instance, is the first thing that comes to mind," Gayle told The Gleaner yesterday.
"Most of our renowned coaches are also very instrumental and involved with their alma mater, and you look at the press focus on Boys and Girls' Champs, which is a major event on our calendar.
"We have already started some work in looking at what could be a likely combination and try and get the best fit for the national team. Champs does come in at a crucial point, and I would use the world carefully, but it does clash with the World Indoors and provides some challenges," Gayle admitted.
He is, however, confident that the JAAA will be able to put together a strong support staff for the athletes travelling to represent the country in Portland.
"We are confident that our discussions with local and international coaches will be positive, and we will be able to send a competent and experienced team of management to accompany the athletes," said Gayle.
Meanwhile, Gayle is expecting that the selection process will be completed well ahead of the February 29 deadline set by the IAAF, and shared that a number of athletes have already indicated their availability.
"It seems close, given that the deadline is just a couple of weeks away, but it is not unusual for many of our elite athletes and their coaches to still be deciding whether or not they will be participating at the World Indoors at this point," Gayle said. "What we know for sure is that we will have the best available team to go out and compete and represent Jamaica at the World Indoor Championships.
"We have received indications from a number of athletes, but we can't give any names at this moment; just to say that it's not unusual that some of our most elite athletes and their coaches will be weighing the pros and cons, even at this point, especially in an Olympic year," he added.
Jamaica won five medals - one gold, two silver and two bronze - at the last IAAF World Indoor Championships in Sopot in 2014.