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Don't let it die - JAAA boss recommends Athletics World Cup for the future

Published:Thursday | November 1, 2018 | 12:00 AMHubert Lawrence/ Gleaner Writer
Russell ... gold medal winner at Athletics World Cup in London.

With reports of a loss beginning to filter through, the future of the Athletics World Cup could be bleak. However, the team concept that underpins the meet has some observers hoping it will survive. One of them is the president of the Jamaica Athletics Administrative Association, Warren Blake.

Dr Blake reflected, "The meet was really good and I found it exciting. I also found the concept interesting."

The Athletics World Cup concept was team competition amongst the top eight nations from the 2017 World Championships in a one athlete-per-event contest with a sizeable cash prize for the winning team and rewards for all down to eighth. It was staged to enliven athletics in the season between the 2017 and 2019 World Championships.

However, the new meet clashed with Wimbledon, which is also staged in London, and the climatic weekend of the FIFA World Cup on July 14 and 15. While the London Stadium at Queen Elizabeth Park can seat 50,000, one official estimated, "It's pushing 30,000 for the Saturday and a little less on the Sunday".

This approximation appeared in an online Daily Mail story on October 26. "Insiders believe it has cost UKA 'in excess of PS1 million' because of scheduling difficulties, poor ticket sales, issues with major sportswear manufacturers, a lack of appearance money and chaos around travel plans for the athletes", wrote Matt Lawton for the Daily Mail.




Given the clash with the FIFA World Cup, he feels attendance was promising. Speaking on Wednesday Blake said: "On the final day, I didn't expect anybody in the stadium and people did in fact come out and you could see the numbers grew after the World Cup was over."

He hopes that the Athletics World Cup will be staged again.

"It does have the potential to really fill that stadium," he asserted. "I would hate to see it die just after one opportunity."

Jamaica placed fourth overall with 155 points behind the USA 219, Poland 162, GB 155, Jam 153 and ahead of France 146, Germany 137, South Africa 135 and China 81.

There were six Jamaica gold medal winners, with Tyquendo Tracey, Shericka Jackson, Stephenie McPherson and Janieve Russell succeeding on the track over 100m, 200m, 400m and 400m hurdles respectively and Fedrick Dacres in the discus and triple jumper Shanieka Ricketts triumphant in the field.

McPherson was involved in one of the most exciting finishes in the two-day event. Her unrelenting pursuit brought Jamaica within millimetres of victory in the 4x400 metres. In the end, the USA survived by a mere 0.01 seconds.

Jamaica did not field any entries in the women's 1500, the men's high jump or either pole vault event.