Wed | Jan 27, 2021

Mills proposes JAAA selection policy fix

Published:Monday | October 19, 2020 | 7:26 AMAkino Ming/Staff Reporter
Danielle Williams (centre) refuses to leave the track after officials ruled she had a false start in the women’s 100m hurdles final at the National Senior Championships at the National Stadium in Kingston on Sunday, June 23, 2019.
Danielle Williams (centre) refuses to leave the track after officials ruled she had a false start in the women’s 100m hurdles final at the National Senior Championships at the National Stadium in Kingston on Sunday, June 23, 2019.

In less than two months, a new era of the Jamaica Administrative Athletics Association (JAAA) will begin as members are set to decide who will become the next president of the association on November 28.

With two of the sport’s well known servants, Garth Gayle and Donald Quarrie, indicating that they want to run the next leg of the relay, coach Glen Mills is hoping that the new era is not just marked by a new president, but a systemic change in how the JAAA operates. He says Jamaica’s athletes and coaches are in need of better service.

Two of the areas Mills says need urgent change are the JAAA’s selection policy and the recruitment and training of meet officials.

Mills told The Gleaner that controversies stemming from the JAAA’s selection policies and inconsistent rulings by officials over the years have put a strain on athletes.

“The current rule of the selection policy is to be rewritten to remove all ambiguities,” Mills said. “The fiasco at the National Trials last year, and subsequent controversies that emerge as a result of it, are further evidence that there is a need to clarify the rule.”

The National Championships came to a standstill last year when 2015 World 100m hurdles champion Danielle Williams was adjudged to have fals- started in the final of the 100m hurdle but protested the ruling, refusing to leave the track.

Williams, who went on to lower the national record in the event to 12.32 seconds later that season, wanted to run under protest, like others in previous editions of the meet, but she was refused that opportunity. The event was subsequently ruled null and void, leading to confusion regarding who the selection would pick to compete in the event at the World Athletics Championships in Doha, Qatar, last year.

After weeks of deliberating on which three athletes would represent the country in the event, Williams provided the solution by winning the Diamond race in the 100m hurdles and secured a bye to compete at the Championships, where she won a bronze medal.

Mills also called for training for meet officials.

“There is a great need for the establishment of an officials association that can administer the training of people to fill various roles so that we have the adequate people to run our meets,” he said. “Better training for officials will also get rid of the inconsistent rulings that we have at our trials.”

1. Athletes must compete in the National Championships unless an exemption has been granted by the JAAA.

2. Athletes placing in the first four positions in the 100m and 400m will be named to the relay pool. The remaining members of the relay pool will be selected by the JAAA Selection Committee. As mandated by World Athletics, athletes who are selected to run individual 100m/400m are automatic members of the relay pool. It is a condition for selection that the athletes selected for the relay pool must be available when required for relay practice. Athletes who fail to make themselves available may not be allowed to participate in the competition.

3. (a) Subject to the proviso below, athletes placing in the first to third positions in all events will be selected if they have attained the qualifying standard for the event PROVIDED HOWEVER that in any event where any athlete has been granted an exemption from competing in that event at the National Championships under criteria (7) below the athlete so exempted may be considered for selection as an entrant for the event in the competition.

(b) Where an athlete has been granted an exemption and the Selection Committee has determined that such an athlete should be selected among the entrants for the event, that athlete shall be selected above the athlete placing third at the National Championships or in place of an athlete finishing in either of the first two places of the event where that athlete has been determined by a medical panel appointed by the JAAA to be ill or injured and not being in a satisfactory physical condition to warrant being entered to compete.

4. Final selection will be made using the allowed final entry date governing the particular competition.

5. All athletes must maintain and prove their competitive fitness up to the time of the final entry date for the competition.

6. Injured athletes must be examined by the JAAA’s local medical team to be declared unfit not to compete in the Championships. After examination, the medical team will recommend how soon the athlete will be capable of returning to competition.

7. Athletes who are ranked/listed in the top three in the world for their event who are ill or injured at the time of the National Championships, and are granted an exemption from competing at the Championships, may still be considered for selection provided that they are able to prove their world ranking form prior to the final submission of the entries for the competition.