Forbes says JAAA Competitions Committee positioned to steer track and field in difficult times

Forbes says JAAA Competitions Committee positioned to steer track and field in difficult times

Observer writer

Sunday, January 03, 2021

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Ian Forbes, ch airman of the Jamaica Athletics Administrative Association's (JAAA) Competitions Committee, says “the many and varied skill sets” of the members of the committee would ensure that they carry out their duties to the best of their abilities on the newly elected executive.

Forbes, who was returned unopposed as the first vice-president at the annual general meeting (AGM) held in November and speaking at the recent calendar conference held virtually on Monday, sees the job of the Competitions Committee as important to ensure the smooth running of track and field meetings in the country.

In addition to Forbes, who is a World Athletics certified track and field official and a meet organiser, the rest of the committee comprises David Riley, Juliet Parkes-Livermore, Velma Charlton, Michael Vassell, Ewan Scott, Leroy Cooke, Lamar Richards, Mario Haughton, and the newly elected JAAA's Assistant Honourary Secretary Brian Smith.

According to Forbes: “The skills sets are many and varied and I think we complement each other pretty well... you would notice as well there is a heavy slant towards Internet technology (IT) on the panel, [and] there are a number of IT specialists which as you know that is what drives everything.”

Forbes, who is also the managing director at Sherwin Williams in Jamaica and the sports director at Jamaica College, said: “Most of the members are or have been meeting organisers so they have a great depth and breadth of knowledge with respect to meet organisation, from both a technical perspective as well as an administrative perspective.”

The chairman then gave an outline of the responsibilities of the committee.

“With respect to how we work, the work starts from the prior year, with the calendar for 2021, the work started from as early as June/July of 2020, typically it starts round about August and we look at the local, regional and international calendars and the general landscape and our task is to harmonise all the calenders to ensure that there are no clashes,” Forbes noted.

He added: “When we say no clashes [we mean] not that there [be] no more than one meet on any given weekend, sometimes we have up to four and five and in this pandemic it will necessitate us having sometimes even more to ensure our athletes get the best opportunity to prepare themselves both for junior and senior competitions, we know it's a busy year; it's an important year and our task is to facilitate our athletes, coaches, managers and all stakeholders to ensure that they are given the best chance to prepare and succeed.”

Forbes says the committee doesn't work arbitrarily, claiming “we consult with a number of stakeholders to coordinate things”.

“And we outline all protocols and we reinforce the importance of observing these protocols, not just in the pandemic, but in the general routine, work which is pretty much involved in planning a meet,” Forbes outlined.

“So when we call the meeting managers to ascertain dates for meets and we do not look at current year only, we look at a three year time horizon, for example, we would be looking at 2021 to 2024.”

Sanctioning meets, he said, is not automatic.

“Some meet planners will ask why some meets are sanctioned vis a vis others. Of course there are a number of factors which we look at — general organisation over time, longevity, track record of various meets and those meets would be given priority in some respect if they have had a good record of organisation and facilitation of track and field, both locally and internationally. We also have to look if the meets are in good standing with respect to the cess owed to the JAAA.”

With the season already under way and expected to pick up in intensity in January, the committee, Forbes said, had been in constant consultations with stakeholders.

“After we look at everything, we have consultations and I must hasten to say we have had a number of consultations and the most recent one with a number of stakeholders, including ISSA, the Ministry of Health, meeting managers and, of course, the JAAA and that has gone very well.

“As we move forward, there will be more even deeper collaboration with respect to all stakeholders to ensure that we are all on the same page to pretty much share best practices as we move forward to develop our sport and enable us to remain successful and at the top of the ladder in track and field globally,” Forbes concluded.

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