Sun | Aug 20, 2017

Fennell fallout - Anderson: Ja to lose influence in IOC corridors

Published:Friday | May 12, 2017 | 5:00 AMDania Bogle
Don Anderson
Mike Fennell
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Former vice-president of the Jamaica Olympic Associ-ation (JOA) Don Anderson believes that the country will lose some of its clout within

the International Olympic Committee (IOC) when Michael Fennell steps down after 40 years in charge of the local Olympic movement.

Fennell has stated his intention to leave the JOA next month and the current Vice-President Vishu Tolan and General Secretary Christopher Samuda have indicated their interest in running for the post.

Anderson, who left the JOA in 2013, said the newcomers may take a while to establish the kinds of relationships that bring influence.

"I am concerned about who might be elected to the presidency. A lot of people in the Olympic movement don't understand why Jamaica is not better represented in the Olympic bodies. When you have two newcomers, it takes a while, and if people were concerned before, I believe you understand that kind of void. You don't make that connection in one term or two terms," Anderson told The Gleaner.

"Jamaica will not have the kind of presence at that level for some time," he added.

Anderson said that while he is unsure he will be running, after having spent eight four-year terms as vice-president, he had established similar relationships with persons within the hierarchy of the IOC, that Fennell had.

"It's an honour to be an IOC member and in my view the kind of work that Mike Fennell has done, the reputation that he has had, he should have been elected an IOC member long ago. He is the most senior of the Caribbean Olympic presidents and is the most respected. Nobody from Jamaica will be able to make that leap in a short time," Anderson said.

Meanwhile, Anderson described his separation from the JOA four years ago as "single-most disappointing aspect of my entire sporting life which spans 40 years in administration".

Fennell was returned as president of the JOA in 2013 after he defeated Anderson 19 votes to 15 in an election. In a radio interview before the election, Anderson had said he only decided to run for the position after Fennell had earlier indicated that he would not be seeking re-election.

Anderson is now involved with the Jamaica Olympic Ice Hockey Federation and said that he still maintains relationships with persons within the Olympic movement.

That involves being part of the board which acquired broadcast rights for the Caribbean for last year's Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro.

"I still have a commitment that I'm passionate about," he said.

He added that some persons had encouraged him to run for election next month, adding that the "emotional" and "painful" experience made that a difficult consideration.

"I miss the Olympic environment dearly, but I have not been able to overcome the manner in which I felt myself undermined in 2013. That has left me with a kind of disconnect which could be reconnected if I became president, but with a disconnect that I have not been happy about," Anderson said.