Thu | Sep 20, 2018

Blake relays disappointment - JAAA president explains unsuccessful IAAF bid

Published:Tuesday | September 11, 2018 | 12:00 AMAkino Ming/Staff Reporter
Jamari Rose collects the baton from Natoya Goule in the mixed 4x400m relay finals at the 2017 World Relays in Nassau, Bahamas. The nation has since decided not to continue hosing the championships because of the high cost associated with it. Since then, Jamaica had unsuccessfully attempted to gain hosting rights for next year's event.
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Jamaica Athletics Administrative Association President Dr Warren Blake has expressed disappointment at Jamaica's failure to become the host of the 2019 IAAF World Relays.

Blake said the Government was not able to provide a written financial backing to the IAAF, despite the world governing body extending the period given for the country to provide the document.

"It is disappointing, but it is what it is. If the Government felt at this time it was hard, with the given economic situation, then that is it," Blake said.

"The decision was for Jamaica to say we could afford to host the event, and we needed the Government to say they could come up with the financial backing," Blake said.

Jamaica became the preferred destination to host the event after The Bahamas, which hosted the first three editions of the Relays, relinquished their hosting right, saying that it had become a financial strain.

It is reported that it would have cost the country over US$5 million (J$688 million) to host the relays as major renovation would have had to be done to the National Stadium.

According to Blake, the IAAF is now in the process of seeking another host.

Though Blake is disappointed by the outcome of the situation, many players in the local athletics fraternity are happy about the Government's decision, as they believed it would have significantly interfered with the 2019 athletics calendar because the National Stadium, which hosts the majority of local athletics meets, would have had to undergo refurbishing to meet the required standards to host the international competition.

Meanwhile, Blake says he and the association are moving ahead with plans to host international meets.

"We, in the federation, have always indicated our desire to host international meets, but we need the financial backing of the Government. But we are trying to improve the Invitational Under-18 meet, for which we had a practice run in June, and we are trying to make it better next year," Blake explained. "We invited Canada and St Kitts and Nevis last year and now we are looking to invite more teams, including the USA."