Tue | Mar 20, 2018

Blake : Unreasonable to compare National Champs with one-day meets

Published:Thursday | June 15, 2017 | 12:00 AMRobert Bailey

President of the Jamaica Athletics Administrative Association, Dr Warren Blake, said it is unreasonable to compare the appeal of the National Senior Championships with the island's top two meets, the Jamaica National Invitational (JII) and particularly the JN/Racers Grand Prix.

The island has some of the top names in track and field, but the National Senior Championships has been unable to match the JII and the Racers Grand Prix in spectator and financial support.

The Racers Grand Prix, which was held last Saturday, attracted more than 30,000 spectators at the National Stadium, while the JII meet that was staged at same venue on May 20, pulled in over 20,000 supporters.

However, Blake said more persons are interested in the one day events.

"These meets (JII and Racers) are one-day events, and you cram more into the one-day meets," Dr Blake said following yesterday's launch of this year's National Junior and Senior Championships, at The Jamaica Pegasus hotel in New Kingston.

He added: "The National Championships is spread out over four days and it has to be this way because athletes need recovery time so that they can compete. For example you couldn't have two 400 metre races on the same day. In order for the athletes to perform well, you have to give them the allotted time that the IAAF stipulates for recovery and so we have to stretch it out and give the athletes who want to compete in more than one event the chance to participate."

The National Senior Championships will be held from June 22-25 at the National Stadium, and Blake noted that he expects some very good performances in the field events.

"Our girls are doing very well in the throwing events," said Blake. "We won the NCAA Championships with a 19-metre-plus throw, and shot putter O'Dayne Richards is really gunning for another podium finish at the World Championships after placing third at the last World Championships."