'JIIM has its purpose' - JAAA president defends Jamaica Invitational amid calls for revision
President of the Jamaica Athletics Administrative Association (JAAA), Dr Warren Blake, says that the aim of the Jamaica International Invitational Meet (JIIM) is not to make a profit, but to provide an international platform for local athletes to perform, as well as to provide them with a source of income.
His comments follow those of Minister of Sport, Olivia Grange, who has recommended that the meet be revised since it has failed to make a profit in the last few editions.
"The International meet aims at development and giving the athletes who would not get a Diamond League lane a chance to make some earnings," Blake said. "It is hard to make a profit from the meet when you pay every athlete that participates and everyone who works at the meet."
He continued: "Champs' (ISSA/GraceKennedy Boys and Girls Athletics Championships) aim is to make money. The people who work at Champs don't get paid. Nobody gets paid at Champs. All the tickets are sold. None is given away, so it will make money because when your expenses are almost zero, then you will make money. You have to decide what is the purpose of your meet, and we have decided that this meet is for the development of track and field."
Grange said in an interview last week that the ministry has had to bail out the directors of the meet as they have been having a deficit over the past few years.
"The JAInvite has not done well in terms of the support. They keep having a problem at the end of the meet where they are not able to cover all their costs. Even that particular meet needs some revision and some consideration about what they should be doing going forward," said Grange.
She said that the Government willingly renders the assistance as it wants to continue growing the sport.
"The meet originally started as an initiative of the Government, but now, the JAAA has set up a company that owns the meet, so it is really a private meet like the (JN) Racers (Grand Prix) meet. But the Government will continue to give to this meet, as well as the Racers meet, because we want to encourage the track and field development in the country," she said.