IAAF wants improved relationship with Jamaica - Eyes Usain Bolt as ambassador
IAAF CEO Olivier Gers said although the federation is disappointed at the Jamaica Athletics Administrative Association's (JAAA) decision to abstain from voting on new reforms for anti-doping controls in the sport, it will not impose any sanctions on the body, and, he wants to greater develop the relationship between the two bodies and also Jamaica's athletes.
Gers, who was the guest speaker for last night's RJR Sports Foundation National Sportsman and Sportswoman of the Year awards ceremony, said that the association has nothing to fear regarding sanctions for its decision.
"There's no change (in the relationship), there won't be any repercussions, and there won't be any impact," Gers said. "Don't get me wrong, we were disappointed because of the amazing ranking and amazing weight that Jamaica has in our sport, so I think President (Sebastian) Coe and all of us on the council were disappointed not to get the full support of Jamaica, but it doesn't mean that there will be any repercussions. We're working together already, we've been talking since then, and we'll be working to hear Dr (Warren) Blake's (JAAA President) concerns."
Gers said that Jamaica has what he describes as a rich track and field heritage and said that the nation's input in the sport's affairs is important to the IAAF. He also noted that the federation wants to learn from what the nation has done, to make the sport better in other areas of the world.
He continued by saying that Usain Bolt is one of the sport's greatest finds and that he hopes he will remain involved in it after Bolt's planned retirement later this year.
"Hopefully, he won't be too far (away from the sport), and we'll get his passion and his talents on the administration side of what we do," Gers told The Gleaner. "We need his fame and his dedication to the sport, but in a different fashion, because he's an amazing trendsetter and marketer of himself so I'm looking forward to working with him in that fashion."
He said that he hopes that younger athletes would follow Bolt's pattern of
marketing himself socially.
"How he markets himself through social media and other tools that exist today that didn't always exist, that was an innate talent of Usain," he said. "His incredible charisma, talent and his unique relationship with the fans is something we hope we can teach younger talent. We are in the business of sport and the business of entertainment, and we have to remember that we are competing with other sports as well."
Gers said that he would love to have Bolt as an ambassador at the IAAF after his retirement.
"That would be great," he said with a grin.
"We haven't had a chance to talk to him about it because we're letting him focus on his season and letting him focus on all the milestones he has set for himself in 2017."