Mon | Sep 23, 2019

JAAA expected to announce World Championships team on Wednesday

Published:Monday | September 9, 2019 | 9:38 PM
JAAA president Dr Warren Blake

The Jamaica Athletics Administrative Association's (JAAA) Selection Committee has concluded its meeting to select the team to compete at the IAAF World Championships in Athletics, which is set for September 27 - October 8. 

The meeting, which started at approximately 5:30 p.m. on Monday, ended at close to 9:00 p.m after some three and a half hours of deliberation. 

There is no indication of the make-up of the team, but the JAAA is expected to make the announcement at a Press Conference on Wednesday morning. 

The main areas of interest for most fans of Jamaican athletics will be the expected inclusion of Diamond Race 100m hurdles champion Danielle Williams, who was a few weeks ago embroiled in an eligibility dispute with the JAAA following a false start fiasco at the National Senior Championships in June. 

Williams, the world leader and gold medal favourite in the event, with a national record 12.32 seconds clocking, was eventually declared eligible by the organisation, which is now expected to make full use of her Diamond Race Wild Card entry, by selecting the maximum four athletes for the event. 

The men's 400m event will also attract attention, with the JAAA expected to name top Jamaican Akeem Bloomfield among the country's three representatives in the event, despite him not contesting the event at the Trials. 

Bloomfield, who has gone 44.40 this season, competed in the 200m event at the National Senior Championships, failing to finish in the top three for a spot in that event. 

Terry Thomas and Javon Francis, who finished second and third, respectively, Trials have not yet run the 45.30 seconds they need to in order to qualify to participate in Worlds. The IAAF’s qualifying deadline was September 6.

Thomas’ 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.

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.

The JAAA's Selection Policy requires athletes to compete at Trials except in cases where a medical exemption is granted. The policy, however, does not demand that athletes compete in the event that they wish to be selected for. 

Defending world champions are also given wild cards in their events. 

It will also be seen how the JAAA has decided to deal with the Briana Williams situation. 

Williams, the World Under-20 100m and 200m champion, who finished third in the 100m at Trials, will begin preliminary proceedings into her anti-doping violation on Tuesday, after testing positive for the banned substance, hydrochlorothiazide. 

Williams has pointed to a contaminated over the counter cold and flu medication.

There is no certainty that the hearing and necessary deliberations will be completed in time to meet the September 15 deadline for submission of entries and whether or not she will get a favourable decision, which will allow her to compete at the championships. 

JAAA president Dr Warren Blake did indicate a few days ago, that the 17 year-old could be entered provisionally. 

"September 6th represents the final qualification date. [The] cut-off date [to submit the] entries is the 15th. Ideally, we would like a decision by the 8th so we can commence the entries. [There is] very little if any room for provisional entry. [However] she can be provisionally selected,” said Blake in an earlier interview with The Gleaner.