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Blake joins race for NACAC’s top post

Published:Wednesday | February 27, 2019 | 12:00 AMLivingston Scott/Gleaner Writer

Jamaica Athletics Administrative Association (JAAA) President Dr Warren Blake has joined the race for the top post at the North American, Central American and Caribbean Athletic Association (NACAC) presidency.

A new president for the regional association will be elected at the next IAAF congress, which takes place in Queretaro, Mexico, on July 1 and 2.

Current president, Victor Lopez of Puerto Rico, will not be seeking re-election.

Blake says he is throwing his hat in the ring because Jamaica’s reputation and success on the world stage demand the representation it deserves.

“It is always the feeling of the local body that Jamaica needs representation at the highest level commensurate with its position on the global stage. We are regarded as a powerhouse in track and field and we should be influencing the sport. Where rules are made and changed we should play a role in influencing that and the direction in which track and field goes globally,” he told The Gleaner.

“We are the third most successful nation in the world, so we should have a voice regionally and internationally. I wouldn’t say it (victory) is a foregone conclusion, but the chance is fair, as there are at least three other competitors. The last time we put up somebody (General Secretary Garth Gayle) from the local body we felt we were going to win and we didn’t, because some people who had promised us support withdrew this support when it came to the crunch. So we are not going to call it a done deal until everything is over,” he said.

Nevertheless, he believes Jamaica’s global track and field appeal will have a major influence on the final result.

“It gives an advantage. If people were to vote on track record and success, it (victory) would be a done deal but personalities and other factors play a role. All we can do is continue to speak to the rest of the region, seek their support and show what benefits putting a Jamaican in charge will have for the region. There are things we can assist the region with. We can negotiate from a position of strength with footwear companies to get contracts, so there are things we can do to assist the development of the region,” he noted.

If elected, Blake has promised to have a more inclusive executive body.

“We will include the rest of the presidents more in decision making and consensus building, because that’s the way we operate in Jamaica, we include all views when making decisions. We continue to include people, even those who didn’t support us, and we try to bring all views on board to get a unified position going forward, so even if they are the minority, they get heard and get a chance to air their feeling,” he said.

NACAC, founded in December 1988, is one of six area associations of the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF). Puerto Rico’s Amadeo Francis was elected first president of the association. After being re-elected in 1999 and 2003, he was replaced by Jamaica’s Neville McCook in 2007. McCook was returned in 2011 and after he died in 2013, Haiti’s Alain Jean Pierre acted as interim president until Lopez was elected the new president of the 31-member association in the same year.