Tue | Oct 23, 2018

Not our fault - Blake says JAAA not to blame for Taylor's 200m absence at World U-20

Published:Wednesday | August 1, 2018 | 12:00 AMLivingston Scott/Gleaner Writer
Dr Warren Blake (left), president of the Jamaica Athletics Administrative Association, and young sprint star Christopher Taylor.

Jamaica Athletics Administrative Association (JAAA) President, Dr Warren Blake, said the organisation was not at fault for Christopher Taylor not competing in the 200 metres at the recent IAAF World Under-20 Championships, pointing to his absence from the National Junior Championships.

His response came after Calabar issued a release pointing fingers at the JAAA for Taylor's absence from the event.

The release said the school wished to address lingering misunderstanding concerning Taylor's absence from the 200m in Finland, noting that it was his desire to compete in the half-lap event at the World U-20 Championships.

The document, which had principal Albert Corcho and vice-principal Calvin Rowe as contacts, stated that Taylor was told by an unnamed JAAA official that he did not have to compete in the 200m at the selection event - the National Junior Championships - as he would be given a bye so that he could prepare to run the 400m at the National Senior Championships.

 

NO KNOWLEDGE

 

Blake denied knowledge of any related request or discussion to have the Calabar star given a bye.

"With regard to the World U-20 Championships and the trials to select the team, young Taylor received a telephone call from a JAAA official on the morning of June 12 ... . During that conversation, the matter of his participation at the trials - where he was entered to run the 200m at the junior trials and wished also to run the 400m at the senior trials - was discussed. The impression was formed that inasmuch as he was the owner of the three fastest times in the world over 200m, that a bye would have been given to allow him to run just one event, which would be the 400m at the senior trials," the release read.

"The first sign that something may have been amiss occurred when Taylor arrived at the German embassy on June 26, 2018, to apply for the Schengen visa to facilitate his travel to Finland, and the officer pointed out to him that their list indicated he was entered to run the 400m.

Assurances were given by JAAA officials, when the discrepancy was subsequently pointed out to them, that it would be rectified. Taylor proceeded to Finland and learned, shortly after his arrival, that the matter, while not yet rectified, was still being attended to. Sometime thereafter, however, he received word that it was too late to have the entry changed and he would have no option but to participate in the 400m," the release continued.

However, Blake told The Gleaner he knew nothing of this arrangement and insisted the sprint prodigy had to run the event at the national trials to compete at the World Under-20 Champs.

"Mr Taylor only entered the 400 metres (World U20 Championships), it's the only event we could enter him in. Christopher Taylor applied to run 200m and 400m (at junior trials), but Calabar, for whatever reason, withdrew him from the 200m, so we could not select him for an event he did not run. You must participate in the trials in the event you want to compete in.

"It's unfortunate that it really wasn't put in writing. But if Chris had run the 200m at the trials, it would have been a no-brainer," Blake said.

He said the association would set a bad precedence if it started breaking its own rules, while agreeing with a point raised by the Calabar hierarchy in their release that it would have been better to have had written documentation of an agreement, as he knew nothing of it.

Taylor eventually competed in the 400m at the World Under-20 Championships, winning the silver medal with a time of 45.38 seconds.

livingston.scott@gleanerjm.com