Not our fault! - Blake blames Carifta Games organisers for scheduling screw-up
Jamaica Athletics Administrative Association (JAAA) president, Dr Warren Blake, said the association has requested a change to the 200 metres schedule at the upcoming Carifta Games after Ato Boldon, coach of top female sprinter Briana Williams, decided to withdraw the athlete from the event.
Boldon pointed out that the schedule for the 200m at the regional championships did not allow enough time for athletes to recover between rounds, with three rounds of 200m set to take place in one day, April 22, leading to the former 200m World champion pulling the young Jamaican for fear of injury.
Blake described as disingenuous the explanation provided by Carifta Games head of competition, Darrel Rankine, who argued that the schedule was sent to all associations from December last year without complaint.
“Unless you sit down and take a fine-toothed comb and go through every single detail on the schedule, oftentimes, these are not picked up. It is up to the people who are doing the schedule not to schedule three rounds of 200m in one day. They can’t say that because people failed to notice this would be burdensome, it means it is okay. There is an assumption on their part that the schedule have to be looked at by the experts to say, ‘This is a more suitable schedule.’ So unless it catches you, many do not go through it in that amount of detail. We tried, but sometimes it does slip. But (for Rankine) to try to defend it by saying that they sent it to us long ago, it means that someone must be so stuck in the mud that they can say that,” Blake blasted.
The scheduling issue, a departure from global convention, which sees the 200m semis and final taking place a day apart, means that Williams, the World 100m and 200m Under-20 champion, will only compete in the 100m at the games, set for the Cayman Islands from April 20-23.
Blake, a medical professional, underlined that a schedule this hectic could lead to many difficulties for athletes, especially in terms of injuries, and said that although he recognises that the JAAA’s rescheduling request is unlikely to be met at this late stage, he is still hoping that an adjustment will be forthcoming.
“It is a big setback because we were expecting to have to run two rounds, but now that we realise the schedule is not stable, we have asked the Carifta authorities if they can rearrange it. Failing that, we will ask one of the other athletes to pick up the slot. We have selected a second person to run the 200m, but I don’t know if we put in another person it would be feasible for that person to run the 200m as well, because with three rounds of 200m in one day, that can really [affect] the body.
“So it will be stressful for them running a lot of rounds in one day, and there is a possibility for injury because it puts the athlete under more stress. So we have requested a change in the schedule, but with the time frame left, we are not too certain ... . We will see what happens,” Blake stated.