Fri | Jun 5, 2020

Don't pick and choose - Samuda urges athletes to give World Championships, Commonwealth Games equal consideration

Published:Friday | April 10, 2020 | 12:05 AMAkino Ming - Staff Reporter -
Jamaica's Kemar Mowatt competes in Heat One of the men's 400m hurdles at the World Athletics Championships in Doha, Qatar on Friday, September 27, 2019.
Jamaica's Kemar Mowatt competes in Heat One of the men's 400m hurdles at the World Athletics Championships in Doha, Qatar on Friday, September 27, 2019.

Jamaica Olympic Association, Christopher Samuda, is urging athletes not to be preferential when they make their plans for the 2022 athletics season as the World Athletics Championships has been shifted to that year which also features the Commonwealth Games.

World Athletics announced earlier this week that the dates of the Eugene, Oregon World Championships have been pushed back to July 15-24, 2022 to accommodate the shift of the Tokyo Games to 2021 because of the outbreak of the novel coronavirus.

The new dates of the Eugene World Championships will see the Birmingham Commonwealth Games starting three days after the last race is run on the west coast in America.

The move has suggested to many that the Commonwealth Games will play second fiddle to the World Championships that year, but Samuda is warning athletes against approaching the season like this as each championship has its own unique merit.

“From a Jamaica perspective, the track and field athletes have placed a lot of premium on the World Championships," Samuda said. "The Olympic Games is always at the pinnacle, the Commonwealth Games, the Central America and Caribbean Games, and the Pan American Games are second cousins. People have missed championships for one reason or another. So, athletes shouldn’t be preferential or too selective. An Athlete's life is a shelf life and therefore they should take advantage of all competitions that come your way because you never know if you are going to be fit the next season around.”

The Gleaner understands that Birmingham 2022 may still come under pressure to delay when it is staged to create more time for athletes competing in Eugene to acclimatise.

Samuda, speaking yesterday at a Gleaner Editors' Forum, said that the shift of the Tokyo Games to 2021 will not affect the Association’s plans for the Paris Olympics Games in 2024.

“We have been forward planning for a very long time,," he said. "In fact our management team for the Tokyo Games has been selected three or four years ago and I am receiving communication for the Paris Olympic Games already. Shortly, we will be putting together a management team for the Paris Games as well as Games beyond 2024. The Chef de Mission will be selected this year and he will start working with his team and interfacing with our secretary general Ryan Foster.

“COVID-19 is rewriting the script for the Tokyo Games, but as far as the script for 2024, it is in the making and we are unfolding it.”

akino.ming@gleanerjm.com