Mon | Sep 23, 2019

‘Setting a dangerous precedent’ - High-profile coach warns JAAA about selecting athletes for events they didn’t compete in at Trials

Published:Sunday | September 1, 2019 | 12:27 AMAkino Ming - Staff Reporter
Jamaica’s Akeem Bloomfield (right) on his way to winning the Men’s 400m during the IAAF Diamond League athletics meeting at London Stadium, in London, Sunday July 21, 2019. Country-man Nathon Allen (background) looks on. Neither athlete competed in the event at the National Senior Championships in June.

Members of the Jamaica Athletics Administrative Association’s (JAAA) selection committee could have a tough time selecting Jamaica’s team that will participate in next month’s World Championships in Doha, Qatar.

This, as a few athletes who finished in the top three in their respective events at the National Senior Championships – a key selection criterion – in June have yet to meet the required qualifying marks for the championships and seem to be making way for athletes who didn’t participate in those events at the meet.

But a high-profile local coach, who has asked not to be named, has warned against selecting athletes for events they did not compete in at the trials as it could set a bad precedent.

“If you have made the qualifying mark for the 400m and you didn’t run that event at the trials, then I cannot understand on what basis you would be selected, and if that is done, then you would be setting a dangerous precedent,” the coach said.

The men’s 400m is in limbo as Terry Thomas and Javon Francis, who finished second and third, respectively, at the National Championships, have not yet run the 45.30 seconds they need to in order to qualify to participate in Worlds. The IAAF’s qualifying deadline is September 6.

Thomas’s best time of the season so far is 45.47 while Francis’ season’s best is 45.60.

National record holder Rusheen McDonald, who finished fourth at the National Senior Championships, has made the qualifying mark with his 45.25 season best.

OTHERS BELOW THE MARK

Akeem Bloomfield (44.40), Nathon Allen (44.85), Sean Bailey (45.19), and Chantz Sawyers (45.24) have also run faster than the required mark, along with the national champion in the event Demish Gaye, who has a season best of 44.83.

But of those with qualifying times, only Gaye, McDonald, and Bailey competed in the event, at the National Senior Championships.

Bloomfield ran the 200m.

President of the JAAA Dr Warren Blake says that only athletes who participated in the championships will be eligible for selection but notes that one does not have to compete in a particular event in order to be eligible to be selected for it.

“The rules say that you have to compete at the trials to be selected for the national team, but they didn’t say that you have to compete in the event,” Blake said.

The selection committee will meet in the coming days to start formally selecting the team.

“Those athletes who haven’t made the qualifying standards have up to the sixth of September and the selection committee will decide,” Blake explained.

Romel Lewis and Jaheel Hyde, who finished second and third, respectively, in the 400m hurdles, also have not yet run faster than the required 49.30 qualifying mark for that event.