‘Amateurish’ JAAA needs change – Mills
Dr Warren Blake’s announcement that he will not be seeking re-election for the presidency of the Jamaica Athletics Administrative Association (JAAA) in the upcoming election has made way for the beginning a new era for the local athletics association.
With a new president set to be elected to lead the association’s executive for the next four years, veteran coach Glen Mills, who has been involved in athletics as a coach and administrator for almost five decades, believes it is time for the association to move away from what he described as an amateurism approach, while pointing to the need for a professional application in order to better serve the nation’s athletics programme.
“I think we should look at track and field in a more business-oriented and professional way,” Mills told The Sunday Gleaner. “When I came into track and field, the association was known as the Jamaica Amateur Athletics Association. The name has been amended and the word ‘amateur’ has been removed, but I still believe that a great part of the organisation and its functioning has been buried in the origin.”
Chief among Mills’ recommendations is the appointment of an executive to manage the day-to-day operations of the organisation, as opposed to the part-time functioning of the executive, as well as the proper execution of the All-Comers series of development meets.
“I would like to see some significant changes where the JAAA moves itself from just being a meet organiser and selector of teams to a more corporate operation,” Mills explained. “I think there is a need for a CEO to head the operations of the association and the administrative body operates more with the organisation of a board.”
JAAA CURRENT STATE
Mills, who coached the likes of Usain Bolt, Yohan Blake and Warren Weir to global success, also submitted that the current state of the JAAA has prevented it from capitalising on the exploits of Jamaica’s athletes at Olympic Games and World Championships over the past two decades.
“When you look at it, Jamaica is in the top four in track and field in the world, but our operations are not saying that,” said Mills, who served as vice president of the association for eight years and has been a member for decades.
The coach also called for a top-quality website for the association, which he believes will not only serve as a necessary resource, but a means of engagement.
“One would love to see the constitution on the website, profiles of the athletes, results from meets on a regular basis. The (meet) results on the websites should also be approved and authenticated so that you don’t have inaccurate information. It should be an accurate source that can stand up to scrutiny at any level,” Mills continued.
As it relates to the improvement of its development meets, particular those categorised as All-Comers, Mills recommended that the JAAA work with World Class Athletics, the meet organising company headed by MVP Track Club president Bruce James, noting that the company has shown it has the capability to execute meets at a high level.
“A lot of our senior athletes use these meets to tune up for international competitions, so these All-Comers meets need to be upgraded in how they are organised and administrated. Bruce James’ company (World Class Athletics) is making an attempt to bring some professionalism to meets, and maybe a closer working relationship with the JAAA could probably bring some satisfactory results in this area,” Mills said.
Meanwhile, Garth Gayle, the current general secretary of the JAAA, is the only person who has so far indicated that he will be seeking election to the position of president of the association.
The elections, which will be a part of the annual general meeting, will take place on November 28.