JAAA for PanAm crisis meeting today

BY PAUL A REID Observer Writer reidp@jamaicaobserver.com

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

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MONTEGO BAY, St James — The change of date and venue of the Pan-American Junior Track and Field Championship could have adverse effects on Jamaica's preparation and possible participation, according to Garth Gayle.

Gayle, general secretary of the Jamaica Athletics Administrative Association (JAAA), indicated that the JAAA could decide not to take part in the championships if it would adversely affect the smooth running of the programme and schedule.

"Any late change of dates will adversely affect us as our schedules are predicated around the major international competitions organised by either NACAC or PanAmerican Organisation," Gayle told the Jamaica Observer yesterday.

A decision could be taken as soon as later today, as the issue would be discussed at a meeting of the JAAA executive.

News came last week that the organisers of the bi-annual championships had been "forced" to change the dates and venue by almost three weeks due to "clashes with other events" inside and out of Colombia.

Originally, the three-day championship that was last held in Miramar, Florida in 2011, were set for Lima, Peru between August 2-4, but has since been shifted to Medellin, Colombia for August 23-25.

The Pan-American Junior Championships, which are open to athletes under the age of 20 years old, are regarded as the best test of junior track and field strength in the region given the inclusion of Cuba, plus north, central and north American countries.

According to a release last week, "The World Games of Non Olympic Sports will be held in Cali, Colombia, from the end of July to the middle of August, and according to organisers, "the date of August 2-4, 2013 is too close to the IAAF World Championships and the IAAF Congress that will be held in Moscow".

Gayle said, however, that Jamaica's participation in the championship would be predicated on a number of things, especially given the late notice.

"The change of date would cause a ripple effect as we now have to look at date for Trials for this particular championships, the availability of the National Stadium and it facilities, travel arrangements and myriad other considerations," he explained.

Presently, the National Junior Trials are set for June 15-16 where the team for the IAAF World Youth Championships in the Ukraine will be selected. The original plans were for the team to the Pan-American Juniors to be held simultaneously.

The late staging of the event that late into August would also extend the junior season well beyond the usual limits, given that the Jamaican season started in January, Gayle went on.

Also, most athletes would be preparing to go back to school and commence their preparations for the 2014 season.

Gayle noted he was optimistic that a decision would be arrived at during today's meeting of the JAAA. "The last resort would be to withdraw our athletes from the Pan-American Championship, so we will be examining every possible ways to see how best we can work it out," he ended.

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