We had no choice - Blake stands by Carifta Trials date
Despite a number of Jamaica’s top junior athletes set to miss the Carifta Trials this weekend, president of the Jamaica Athletics Administrative Association (JAAA), Warren Blake, is defending the association’s decision to set the date of the event one week after the 2019 ISSA/GraceKennedy Boys and Girls’ Athletics Championships.
The Gleaner understands that Hydel High School star athletes Charokee Young and Ashanti Moore, along with Kevona Davis of Edwin Allen, have all pulled out of the trials due to the fatigue following their assignments at the five-day championships.
Young took gold in the Class One 400m and 800m at Champs, with the finals of both events taking place just over two hours apart, while Moore won gold in the Class One sprint double. Davis claimed the sprint double in Class Two.
However, Blake still believes that today, tomorrow and Sunday were the best dates available on the athletics calendar for the young athletes to compete for spots to represent the country at the April 20-22 Carifta Games in The Cayman Islands.
“The only reason Carifta Trials is not before Champs is because of the timing of the games this year. It is a bit later down this year,” Blake explained. “In the past, when we had Carifta Trials before Champs, we lost a number of people after the championships because of injuries. If Trials was any earlier, a number of the coaches would keep their athletes away from the trials because they don’t want to run any chances of getting injured before Champs.”
There have been concerns from many persons within the athletics fraternity that the young athletes’ bodies may not have recovered in time to compete this weekend without risking serious injury after the gruelling championships, but Blake said medical advice was sought before deciding on the dates.
“There is enough time distance between the two events for them to be able to compete,” said Blake, who is a medical professional himself. “It is not against the medical recommendation, and I am telling you this as a medical doctor and as a sports medicine specialist, so a lot of people out there are talking, and they have the luxury of loose talk because they don’t have the responsibility of selecting a team.”
The JAAA boss also dismissed suggestions that results from Champs be used to select the team for the top regional age-group championships for Caribbean nations.
“We couldn’t use Champs results to choose the teams for Carifta because we have a trials specific for Carifta. In my memory, we have never used Champs to select the Carifta team, and I have been on the executive of the JAAA pretty close to 20 years,” said Blake.
The event is scheduled to get started at 4:30 p.m. today with the shot put events for Under-17 and Under-20 girls.