André Lowe, Senior Staff Reporter
Presidential incumbent Dr Warren Blake is confident he has done enough during his one-year spell at the helm of the Jamaica Athletics Administrative Association (JAAA), but is also making it clear that he has no reservations about working with someone else if he is not returned at the November 29 elections and annual general meeting.
Additionally, Blake, who a year ago won a vote-off against Grace Jackson following the passing of former president Howard Aris, believes he has already shown the organisation's membership that he is best suited to lead the nation's track and field affairs for the next four years.
Jackson, a first vice-president on the incumbent's administration, has returned to challenge Blake with a slate of her own, likewise Eatmon, who is a well-known and respected figure in local track and field, being a former vice-president himself.
Despite the charged atmosphere and extensive campaigning, Blake, who introduced his entire slate at a function last Saturday, underlines the need for all differences to be laid aside after the ballots are cast and assured that he is prepared to work with anyone if things do not go according to his plans.
"I have been working in track and field since I was in high school. I became a member of the JAAA while still in high school and have supported track and field relentlessly since then," said Blake.
"When I graduated as a doctor, without being on any slate or anything, I gave service to the sport and when I came back to Jamaica as a qualified orthopedic surgeon, my service to track and field continued. My service to the sport will continue regardless of what happens," he underlined.
Tainted jaaa image
Personal attacks, played out on television screens, leaked documentation and insistent finger pointing have stained the image of the JAAA over the past few weeks, but Blake agreed that there is an urgent need for truce and collaboration for the greater good of the sport.
"Any public controversy will impact on the image of any association. I have tried my best to stay away from public controversy because staining the image of track and field serves nobody any good, and anyone with the good of the sport in mind should take this into account before they make accusations in public," Blake told The Gleaner.
"If you look at my team, as far as possible, we have tried to put together an inclusive team. All the stakeholders are represented and I don't see a problem bringing the other teams together under my leadership," he added.
"People should remember that in going forward, we need all hands on deck and people shouldn't take themselves away if they have lost the election."