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Local athletics fraternity thankful for World Athletics platform to voice concerns about sport

Published:Tuesday | March 30, 2021 | 1:04 AMDaniel Wheeler/Staff Reporter
FORBES
FORBES
Jumps coach Kerry Lee Ricketts.
Jumps coach Kerry Lee Ricketts.
National triple jumper Shanieka Ricketts.
National triple jumper Shanieka Ricketts.
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Jamaica Athletics Administrative Association First Vice President Ian Forbes and national jumps coach Kerry Lee Ricketts have both welcomed the World Athletics Global Conversation for the Future of Athletics campaign. This is because they believe...

Jamaica Athletics Administrative Association First Vice President Ian Forbes and national jumps coach Kerry Lee Ricketts have both welcomed the World Athletics Global Conversation for the Future of Athletics campaign. This is because they believe that Jamaica has an important part to play in shaping the sport’s future for the next eight years.

World Athletics sent out a global survey on March 22 that will be used to develop a plan to enact key policies to improve the direction of the sport for the rest of the decade. Various stakeholders including athletes, coaches, officials and media have been invited to take part in the worldwide campaign which will run for six weeks. A draft will be formulated from the results and presented to the World Athletics Council in the middle of the year. Once the proposal is accepted, a final plan will be circulated to all member federations for formal approval at the biennial World Athletics Congress this November.

SHOULD BE A PART OF LARGER CONVERSATION

Forbes says given Jamaica’s role and status in the athletics community, it is important that they are part of the larger conversation to find solutions to improving the sport for the long term.

“We have been a track and field powerhouse for a long time and we plan to continue being a powerhouse in the sport,” Forbes said. “So we need to be at the table and we need to be engaging the relevant authorities with respect to the sport and its development.

“I am pretty confident that we will have a strong voice in that process.

“In participating, we as an association would be reaching out to our athletes, coaches, and other stakeholders within the group to get their feedback as well.”

In launching the campaign, World Athletics President Lord Sebastian Coe said that the global outreach is critical in creating their World Plan for Athletics which will run from 2022 to 2030.

“Our strength as a sport lies in the diversity of our community and we need to hear the voices of our key stakeholders in all of our 214 countries and territories in order to develop a plan that fully represents our global aspirations for athletics to grow and thrive over the coming years,” Coe said.

Athletes have voiced frustration regarding changes that World Athletics has made regarding events and competition formats in the past. The 2020 Diamond League season saw the removal of certain events such as the 200m, the discus throw, and the triple jump from the Diamond League final as well as a new play-off format for the long jump being experimented with last year. The latter received strong disapproval from athletes. World Athletics reinstated those events for the 2021 season.

Ricketts, who coaches World Champion triple jump silver medallist Shanieka Ricketts, says that the initiative is a welcome change from the world governing body, as he sees it as a more suitable way to determine how to make the sport more attractive and outlined the importance of getting the athletes involved in the process.

“They have been going about it the wrong way,” he said. “So, I think this is good, the fact that they want to get us involved and hear what we have to say,” Ricketts said.

“And I think this should have been the conversation before they made some of the changes that they implemented. This is definitely putting a better foot forward, so to speak.”

daniel.wheeler@gleanerjm.com