Sun | Aug 20, 2017

The Wright View | The JAAA's vote and our Sunshine Girls

Published:Tuesday | December 6, 2016 | 12:00 AM
President of the IAAF Sebastian Coe.

At the recent International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) special Congress, attended by Jamaica Athletics Administrative Association (JAAA) president Dr Warren Blake and secretary Garth Gayle, president Sebastian Coe asked the invitees to vote on a proposal to reform the IAAF, an organisation that has been under fire recently amid charges of corruption, which included an investigation by the police into activities of its previous president: Lamine Diack.

As I understand it, there were three proposals to consider. The first was to make sure that more women were involved in the high echelons of the IAAF. Second, there would be term limits on the president and council members, and third, there will be an integrity unit to handle doping cases of international athletes, which would also see the speeding up of the disciplinary process. One hundred and ninety two delegates voted. This voting process for the very first time was not secret! The process had delegate votes recorded. Those voting to agree to the reform proposals recorded as "green". Those against the proposal were recorded as "pink" and those with no opinion being recorded as "white". One hundred and eighty two delegates supported the reform proposals. Ten delegates didn't. There is information being circulated that Jamaica's vote was recorded as 'white'. Could this be true? Why would Jamaica not support these reform proposals? What objection could there possibly be against, more women in positions of authority in the IAAF? What objection could there be to term limits for the president and council members, and what objection could there be to having an integrity unit to handle cases of doping cases of International athletes and to oversee the speeding up of the disciplinary process?

 

Vote white

 

I do believe that if the Jamaican delegation did indeed vote 'white', then the public of this country deserves an explanation. We are well aware of the extraordinarily long time that it takes disciplinary processes against our international stars who are accused of running afoul of doping regulations to come to a conclusion. This creates unusual and unfortunate pressure on the athlete involved, who if innocent must be very interested in clearing his/her name in the shortest possible time. I am confident that there must be a very good reason why Jamaica's vote was recorded as 'white' and not 'green'. I am requesting 'transparency' as outlined by the IAAF president, who defended the decision to publicise the voting preference of delegates as the new transparency in the running of the organisation. Hopefully similar sentiments exist in the recently re-elected hierarchy of the JAAA.

After the defeat of Jamaica by Malawi in a recent International netball, competition and a public spat between the president of netball Jamaica and one of its star players, there has been talk, of the "demise" of local netball since the retirement of long-time president Marva Bernard.

This column has also been critical of coaching decisions that seem bereft of ideas when the game plan going into a game does not appear to be working. Well, Jamaica sent a relatively young team to England; (ranked third in the world) to play three Tests. After an opening win of 66-49, our Sunshine Girls succumbed in the second match to lose 63-50. England made the necessary adjustments and won the match decisively. However, in the final and deciding game of the series (attended by over 4000 fans) Jamaica, after leading 29-23 at half time overcame a late rally from England in the third quarter to win the match 64-57. Jamaica's coaching staff and players made the necessary adjustments to their game to defeat a strong England team. Congratulations are definitely in order.

Could this be the "turning of the corner" when Jamaica ceases to be sometimes third most times fourth, or was this just an aberration? Only time will tell. Let us support this new "vibe" in the camp, and urge our Sunshine Girls to "move on up"!