Thu | Sep 20, 2018

Difficult Doha date

Published:Sunday | August 26, 2018 | 12:00 AMHubert Lawrence
Dr Warren Blake

With the 2019 World Championships set for a later date than usual, the Jamaica Athletics Administrative Association (JAAA) is considering a move of its National Championships as well.

JAAA president Dr Warren Blake says his association has already looked at the 2019 track and field calendar and is trying to navigate the difficulties ahead as the Worlds are for September 28 to October 6 in Doha, Qatar.

The move is being considered because the usual late June Nationals spot is considered too far way from the World Championship to be a useful team selection tool.

"Well, we have in fact looked at moving the date because, as you know, America has moved the date to the last weekend in July and we were contemplating moving it to the same weekend," Blake said last Friday.

Speaking at the G.C. Foster College for Sport and Physical Education at the signing of a memorandum of understanding between the college and Sprintec Track Club, Blake continued, "But when we look at the calendar for next year, one of the difficulties we're having is that it's the same weekend as the start of the Pan-Am Games, and that would automatically create a whole different set of problems for us."

Typically, all teams for summer championships are picked on the basis of performances at the Nationals. In 2019, that would include the Pan-Am Games.

"Also, we note that the Diamond League calendar has not really shifted dramatically to allow a down period for that, so we're going to have another look at it in terms of finalising the date and how we go forward in choosing the team next year because it really is going to pose some difficulty for us."

Hopes seem to have perished that the IAAF would free the late July week once the USA and Jamaica chose it for national championships and team trials. According to the JAAA head, the problem may concern the schedule of other meets, including IAAF Diamond League events.

Some of the Diamond League meets that happen around that time, they happen in football stadiums," he offered, "and those stadiums have to be modified and vacated for football, so the dates are fixed for those meets."

No World Championships has ever ended later than September 6, but Qatari weather trends have dictated the change for 2019. Under normal circumstances, the IAAF schedules a break in its Diamond League and World Challenge meet to facilitate national championships at the end of June.