Foster's Fairplay | Kudos to Carifta coverage
The organisers of successive stagings of the Carifta Games have, in recent times, taken a lot of flak for the lack of quality in the broadcast of the annual Easter Weekend event. This column is being written with two of three days completed at the 2017 staging, and a marked difference has been recognised.
Foster's Fairplay, in acknowledgement of the vast improvement in delivery of the action from first-time host, CuraÁao, sincerely congratulates the country for treating the sport with the respect that not only it, but those who participate, deserve. For sure, there is some way to go to achieve perfection, but at least the title sponsors FLOW, can hold its head a little higher as it works at creating a more acceptable viewing and listening model for fans who are not able to make it to the venue.
Having said all that, what were the highlights that this columnist considers to be worthy of mention? Surely, a major plus is the introduction of Caymanian, Kareem Streete-Thompson, himself a Carifta icon, having a record-breaking history in the long jump, while representing his country for six years. He began that campaign in 1987 at age 14 and, during the coverage, brought a level of professionalism and technical competence to his analysis.
This was far from being surprising as he is on the panel of the presenters who work for the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) at their elite global championships. In tandem with Dalton Myers of the region's Intercollegiate sports executive, he gave the presentation a fresh look.
Apart from that positive change, there were revelations elicited in an interview, from the President of the IAAF, Lord Sebastian Coe, that cleared the air on some matters regarding the sport.
Sometime last year, the world governing body announced that the 2017 hosting of the World Under-18 Championships in Nairobi, would be the final one. This had caused some consternation at all levels as questions were being asked as to the reasons.
The Carifta broadcast provided some answers due to some carefully crafted queries by the team of announcers. Lord Coe seized the moment to explain that it was felt by different stakeholders that the existing development format did not adequately address that for which it was created. The IAAF, according to the former Olympic 1500m champion, had happily included coaches and athletes in its deliberations as well as federation heads and officials.
What was concluded, is that competition at this age group should be brought closer home, with athletes from the different geographic areas competing at a regional level. The IAAF is expected to give their support in order to establish and sustain the viability of the new exercise.
What impressed Foster's Fairplay is that the consultation process prior to the final verdict, was all-embracing and not confined to a top-level decision handed down as if by decree. "Milud" was also afforded the opportunity to give the IAAF's view on life after Bolt, now that the sport's legend, Emperor Usain, will be giving up at the end of the London World Championships, come August.
Although there was no elaboration, it was apparent that track and field, globally, will take on some of the characteristics of the Usain-inspired Nitro Series held in Melbourne, Australia, at the start of the year. Lord Coe also thought that the sport, already occupying nine months in the year, needs to be converted to a 12-month slog.
Track and field was taking a flogging when the former world record holder took office. His predecessor, Lamine Diack was beleaguered with criminal charges, top IAAF executives were similarly being exposed, all as a result of investigations surrounding Russia's alleged involvement in and subsequent cover-up of drug violations, leading to several disqualifications from competition and the attendant loss of medals. Lord Coe needed a forum, as provided by the Carifta broadcast team, to convince any doubters of his ability to correct a listing ship, that he was the right nominee for the arduous task. The credibility of track and field was in dire need of restoration.
The 2017 Carifta Games broadcast team provided an opportunity and they should be commended.
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