Tue | Nov 21, 2017

Laurie Foster | Failure to Address

Published:Tuesday | October 17, 2017 | 12:00 AM
Jamaica Athletics Administrative Association president Dr Warren Blake.

The call for accountability - forget about responsibility - coming out of the August World Championships in London, for the Jamaica Athletics Administrative Association (JAAA) to conduct an investigation into allegations of misconduct, has been met with a familiar response - failure to address. This is after over two agonising months when track and field fans were hoping that, given the serious nature of what was being said, at least an interim report or the promise of one, would be forthcoming. Not even the fact that the clamour for explanations was widely reported, and the incidents should have been viewed as unacceptable behaviour on the part of certain athletes and officials, seemed to have made a difference. In saying this, it must be remembered that the reports, this time around, spoke in part to a physical confrontation, the first such within memory.

Foster's Fairplay takes no pride or pleasure in describing the JAAA as being negligent in this matter. In fact, so should the governing body, if it took the time to reflect on its role and, by extension, duty to those who support the sport over which it claims jurisdiction. If a group of administrators comes to power by way of the ballot box, it is morally mandated to serve its term along lines as it had campaigned. Is this what this JAAA regime is practising?

It is not far-fetched to think of the London medal count as being indicative of a country in decline. However, moving from recurring double-digit performances to a paltry return of four is due cause for grave concern. Those leaders of the sport now in office, will be steering the nation into the next Olympics in three years' time. The ingredients of which top echelon performances are made will always be many and varied. They are not just confined to good coaching, access to elite competition and the astute management of injuries. The JAAA should remember that there needs to be proper oversight and the intestinal fortitude to handle issues of governance in an honest and forthright manner. Reluctance (or is it refusal?) to take on that mantle will not cut it.

 

CAUGHT IN A TRAGIC TAILSPIN

 

The rapid erosion of the fortunes of the West Indies cricket team is still used as a warning that the much-vaunted image of the nation's track and field could take a similar beating. The social media experience informs that standards of behaviour are caught in a tragic tailspin - crass and vulgar attitudes find a way into any discourse and morality is sent on permanent vacation. It is left to stern and sustained action to cauterise acts of indiscipline that are permitted entry into the sporting arena, whether among on-field or off-field players.

If the JAAA, by its inaction, develops a habit of downgrading the impact of these allegations, there could be long-lasting repercussions. Having said that, they could by now, have formed a part of its culture. Perish that thought as one cannot see any benefit to anyone.

The JAAA needs urgently to decide where it should be hanging its hat as far as the reported incidents from London are concerned. It cannot come under the heading of best practices to have these situations, as reported, swirling in the sport's atmosphere with no probing done to apportion blame if any exists, and appropriate action taken.

The sport of track and field has done so much for the nation on the positive column, and is threatening to do even more. It should not be allowed to suffer harm because of some spineless administrators who lack the foresight to do what is required to keep the flag of hope flying.

In all this, there is no intention to give up on the controlling body. The belief still persists that it is capable of doing the right thing in matters of this nature. Good sense should be allowed to prevail for the benefit of all the stakeholders. If not, we will become a nation who simply does not give a hoot.

Come on, JAAA, this is an area of deep concern. Time you shared it.

Stand up and stand out.

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