Jamaica set for Athletics World Cup in summer
Jamaica's senior track and field athletes can look forward to another opportunity to represent the country in what is considered as a down year in track and field, as British Athletics has announced yesterday that eight of the world's top track and field nations will compete in their inaugural Athletics World Cup this summer in London.
The teams announced were the top-eight placed nations from the IAAF World Athletic Championships in last year in London. They include USA, Great Britain & Northern Ireland, Poland, China, Germany, France, Jamaica and South Africa.
It is reported that 16 events will be contested, including two relays. Each nation is only allowed one entrant per event. All the events will be straight finals.
The Athletics World Cup is scheduled for July14 and 15 at the Queen Elizabeth Stadium in East London.
At the end of the two days, the team that has amassed the most points will be crowned World Cup champion and will be given a prize money of US$2 million (around J$250 million) to be distributed among the team members.
President of the Jamaica Athletics Administrative Association, Warren Blake, told The Gleaner that the hierarchy of the association endorses the event.
"The executive is quite pleased to be a part of it, and we have endorsed the event, and we will be selecting a team to go," Blake said.
Blake said that though a plan has not yet been finalised, more than likely, the National Championships, which will take place in June, will be used to select the team.
"This meet is sanctioned by the IAAF," Blake said.
The World Cup is expected to take place every two years, and hence, the next staging would be in 2020, an Olympic year, but Blake is not worried that the schedule might be overcrowded.
"If anything, that meet will serve as a warm-up for the Olympic Games," Blake said.
Several players in Jamaica's athletics have also welcomed the new feature on the track and field calendar.
"It's another competition where athletes can earn, so it's a good thing for athletes," Sprintec Track Club head coach Maurice Wilson said. "Coaches just have to prepare their athletes accordingly so that they can take advantage of it."
Wilson also said he believes that his athletes would be very interested in competing in the event.
Track and field agent Norman Peart shares similar sentiments.
"It's a start, and I welcome it because other sports have been adding activities," Peart said. "It's gonna take years to grow, just like the World Championships, but it should be great."
British Athletics said in a statement that a female will be selected as team captain for each nation to mark 100 years since women were allowed to vote in Britain.