Tue | Feb 19, 2019

Some top athletes could miss JAAA trials

Published:Friday | February 1, 2019 | 12:20 AMAkino Ming/ Staff Reporter
Seegobin
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Cubie Seegobin, the agent of several Jamaican athletes affiliated with the adidas brand, believes that a number of his athletes could miss the Jamaica Athletics Administrative Association (JAAA) National Senior Championships this year as its schedule is too close to the brand’s mandatory meet.

After months of back and forth, the JAAA concluded yesterday that the date of the National Championships would be from June 20-23, 2019, four days before the mandatory Adidas Boost Games for the brand’s athletes in Boston, Massachusetts.

In a release, the JAAA stated that “after further consideration, the dates for the National Senior and Junior Championships are fixed for June 20-23.”

But Seegobin believes the date is not convenient for his clients as they have been thrust into a situation to choose between obligations to their sponsors and a chance to represent their country at the premier athletics event of the year, the IAAF World Championships.

“There is a good chance that Yohan Blake and Warren Weir and even others may not turn up to the National Championships because they have to honour their contracts,” Seegobin said. “The decision to compete at the ­championships will be up to the athletes and their coaches, but I have spoken to Weir and Blakem and they have said to me that they might not attend.”

HEAVY LOSS

He continued: “If they miss the (adidas) meet, they will lose heavily. There is a clause in their contracts that says if they don’t appear in the sponsorships meet, they will lose a substantial amount of money. They (JAAA) are putting them in a situation to choose between their sponsors and running at the National Championships. It is nonsense what the JAAA is doing.”

It was widely believed that the National Championships, which is used to select teams to represent the country at various regional an international athletics meets, would, for the first time, move to late July to be closer to the World Athletics Championships, which is scheduled for September 28 to October 6 in Doha, Qatar.

And with this in mind, some of the nation’s top coaches have geared their training twards getting their athletes in top shape for the end of July.

“There is going to be a problem. We were actually preparing for a July National Championships, and because of this, we started training at the end of October, and then it was moved to June 29 and, as a result, we are behind in our ­training. And now we are hearing that it is June 20,” said Maurice Wilson, the head coach of the adidas-­sponsored Sprintec track club.

“The adidas meet is the 16th (June). Our athletes who are under adidas, they must participate at this meet. So we are looking at a turnaround time of about three days to get ready for a major ­championship. I am not sure what is going to happen, but it is going to be a very difficult for us. I am extremely concerned. Nobody wants any athlete to run before a major championship between two and three weeks. It is going to be very difficult.”

In its release, the JAAA said: “Due to the late scheduling of the World Championships in Qatar, there was difficulty in arriving at a date ­convenient to all parties.”

But Seegobin warns that if the athletes are not able to compete at the Adidas Boost Games, it could hurt the brand’s relationships with the country.

“I have spoken to adidas, and they have told me their position that if the athletes don’t turn up, they will suffer the ­consequences and not just them, but this could affect the schools and clubs in Jamaica that are ­sponsored by adidas,” Seegobin said.

Officials of the JAAA could not be reached for comment ­yesterday. Several calls to the cell phones of the JAAA top brass went unanswered.

‘There is a good chance that Yohan Blake and Warren Weir and even others may not turn up to the National Championships because they have to honour their contracts.’