MONTE CARLO, Monaco:
Nick Davies, the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) communications director and deputy general secretary, on Friday hailed former president of the Jamaica Athletics Administrative Association (JAAA), Howard Aris, as a "man of track and field", stating that his death has been greatly felt throughout the corridors of the international body.
Aris served the IAAF as a member of the Youth Commission and it was this assignment that caused himself and Davies to develop a solid rapport. However, as Davies mentioned to The Gleaner, Aris was well respected throughout the IAAF and his sudden death will prove to be a great loss for track and field.
"The news came very early today (Friday) and it was a big day for the council with the decision of the 2017 World Championships and everyone was saddened and shocked at the loss of Howard Aris," said Davies. "He was a great man not only for Jamaican athletics, but he believed in the sport and was also very active on the world scene.
"I met Howard mainly through the Youth Commission and I got to know him very well and he was extremely active and positive. He was given that position as a recognition of Jamaica's incredible system of school athletics and with the young age groups and he had always been a very positive, smart and active man on that commission," Davies added, before mentioning that Aris' re-appointment to the Youth Commission was one of the things that was on the agenda for ratification by the IAAF Council.
"I think it will be a great loss because he was such a leading figure and an imposing man. When he travelled to congresses and competitions around the world, he represented the country and he is someone who has been around in this sport for a lot of years, so it's a loss of tremendous experience," said Davies. "Indeed it is a very sad day for the sport.
"We offer all the deepest condolences to his family and loved ones. He will be greatly missed and we think he was a great man of athletics," said Davies.
IAAF President Lamine Diack on Friday called for a moment of silence in respect to Aris' passing, while several other council members have openly expressed their sadness and shock at his passing.