By Orville Higgins
The highly anticipated election to choose the executive of the Jamaica Athletics Administrative Association (JAAA) is now only a matter of days away. All three candidates are expressing confidence and believe they have a genuine chance of winning.
Lincoln Eatmon is getting some traction from the wider public, who feel he is not necessarily a great talker but does have a reputation for getting things done. He is said to be a bright man, and is widely regarded as one of the best legal minds in Jamaica.
The votes, though, will not be coming from the wider public, but by a group of 370-380 delegates. Eatmon doesn't have the instant name recognition of a Grace Jackson or a Dr Warren Blake - not in track and field, at any rate. This could be a mark against Eatmon, but because of his relatively low profile, he also doesn't have any baggage.
Eatmon is said to be backed by Teddy McCook, which is surprising enough. Teddy and Captain Horace Burrell are arguably the two most high-profile and influential sports administrators in modern Jamaica. McCook cannot be underestimated. He is still widely respected and has some clout with the track and field electorate. Teddy bleeds purple in many people's eyes, and for him to support Eatmon, a Calabar man, ahead of Blake, who went to Kingston College, is seen as strange, but telling.
Again, assuming that it is true. Teddy is not in the island, and when I checked, I heard he wouldn't be here until the eve of the election. What campaigning he could do, therefore, is debatable.
IS BLAKE SAFE?
Dr Warren Blake, I was told by several insiders, has a lot of safe votes, maybe more than the other two candidates. This is not unexpected. When Howard Aris passed away, the inner circle voted to have Dr Blake ahead of Jackson as interim president. He was seen as one who would maintain the status quo of what track and field leadership under Aris had come to mean, and besides that, he was, and is, still male, and crucially to some, a former Kingston College student.
Those with whom I speak are insistent that the KC factor should not be taken lightly. However, in the time that Dr Blake has presided, he has done enough to convince the populace that he is the real deal.
Blake's leaked letter to Ludlow Watt, spelling out some concerns he had with the running of the association, hasn't helped his cause. Nor is his role, real or imagined, in the public spat between Glen Mills and Donald Quarrie.
Despite this, it is felt by many insiders that Blake has a greater loyalty base than the other two, and that if Eatmon or Grace Jackson were to win, they would have to pull on more of the 'uncommitted voters'. Another telling factor could be the fact that Blake and his team might have had far earlier access to the list than the other two candidates, because as the incumbent, Blake might have known the identity of the electorate before the other two candidates.
Grace Jackson was the latest of the three running for the top post to start campaigning, which may be a disadvantage. Despite this, she is seen by some insiders as a dark horse who could garner enough votes to make a serious impact. She is a former Olympian with a 'name', which carries a decided advantage. She is a woman, and the bald fact is that her sex could work against her. She is also somebody who could have the greatest support among the athletes, but their numbers represent a small part of the delegate list.
My sources tell me that at least one of the camps wanted Grace out of the race. She told me personally that she has no intention of pulling out and feels she has the clout to go all the way.
Who will take charge of Jamaica's track and field for the next four years? I think I know the answer, but for now, I will ask, what say you?
KLAS's Orville Higgins is a sportscaster. Email feedback to firstname.lastname@example.org.