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Ja perfect for World Relays, Continental Cup - Blake

Published:Monday | September 22, 2014 | 12:00 AM

President of the Jamaica Athletics Administrative Asso-ciation (JAAA), Dr Warren Blake, will be looking to convince the Government and local stakeholders of the importance of the island hosting major international championship events such as the IAAF Continental Cup and the IAAF World Relays.

Blake, who says he will be looking to meet with Prime Minister Portia Simpson Miller and Minister with responsibility for sport Natalie Neita-Headley in the coming weeks, recently returned to the island after serving as team doctor for the Americas region at the Continental Cup in Marrakech, Morocco.

The JAAA boss believes the island is more than capable of staging the events successfully and is convinced it would help to drive the country's sport tourism efforts, while pushing the continued development of the sport in the island.

"I will be seeking the ear of the minister responsible for sport, as well as the Prime Minister and the National Sports Council, because this is something that is integral in hosting major events - you need the approval of the Government, so this will be the first step, and then we would take it to the executive. I don't see a difficulty there because I know it's a priority of the executive," said Blake.

"I think a country like Jamaica, being a track-and-field powerhouse, we have a large fan base for the sport here, and I think this is a competition that Jamaica is well-positioned to host, and it's something that I will be looking at. I will be making a recommendation that we should seek to host the Continental Cup in the not-too-distant future," Blake told The Gleaner.

The island is no stranger to hosting major athletics events, having staged the 1962 Central America and Caribbean Games, the 1962 Commonwealth Games (then the British Empire and Commonwealth Games), as well as the 2002 IAAF World Junior Championships within its shores.

"I think an event like the Continental Cup, for instance, is tailormade for us to host. It's an event that we can easily manage with our level of organisation here," Blake added.

"The World Relays is something I believe should be of interest to Jamaica as well, and we need to take an analytical view at this event and see how soon we can make a bid to host this event."