Sat | Nov 27, 2021

Blake likes World U-21 idea

Published:Thursday | April 23, 2020 | 12:18 AMHubert Lawrence/Gleaner Writer

THANKS TO the novel coronavirus, many young athletes have lost their final opportunity to compete at the World Athletics Under-20 Championships, which has been moved from Nairobi, Kenya, this year, to 2021. With them in mind, Jamaica Athletics Administrative Association President Warren Blake is supporting the suggestion of a one-off World Under-21 Championship next season.

“I would definitely support such a move because it would be a good idea,” Blake said recently. “As a junior coming to the end of your high-school career, you’re training and preparing for this event. Because of no fault of your own, it was removed, not just from you, but from everyone. I think they should all be given a chance to compete at this level, because the next time they are going to competing after that, they’re going to be competing as seniors, and that’s a whole different ball game.

“I think they should be given their chance to compete at this level, a one-off World Under-21 would certainly fit the bill and it would certainly meet with my support.”

Accordingly, the Jamaican intends to put the idea to his international colleagues. Asked if World Athletics, the sport’s governing body, might like the concept, he replied, “I think it might find favour and I’m going to be raising it on the President’s Forum, because we have certain groupings where we meet, virtually, and discuss track and field events, and I’m going to throw that out as a suggestion and hopefully, the powers that be hear us and go ahead with it.”

If the 2021 meet goes ahead as an under-20 meet, some of Jamaica’s prominent student athletes will miss Nairobi. Edwin Allen High’s Kevona Davis, the Petersfield High School pair of Antonio Watson and Shaquena Foote, former Vere Technical High School star hurdler Britany Anderson, and Calabar’s Kimar Farquharson were all training with Kenya on their minds. That group of Jamaicans and the St Lucian Julien Alfred, who has accelerated her sprinting in her first year at the University of Texas, will be ineligible for under-20 competition next year.

Alfred attended St Catherine High before moving to Texas.

World Under-18 100m hurdles gold medallist in 2017, Anderson was a whisker away from under-20 glory two years ago and now holds the world under-20 record at 12.71 seconds. She turns 20 on January 3 next year. Her 2017 World Under-18 teammates, 100m bronze medallist Davis, 400m winner Watson, Foote and Farquharson will follow suit during 2021.