Garth Gayle touted as strong candidate to take reins of JAAA when incumbent Blake steps down

Observer Writer

Saturday, August 15, 2020

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Long-serving General Secretary Garth Gayle has been seen as the likely successor to take over as the president of the Jamaica Athletics Administrative Association (JAAA), according to a well-placed source.

Incumbent President Dr Warren Blake said on Thursday he would not be contesting the next annual general meeting (AGM) set for November and who also described Gayle as a worthy successor.

Efforts to contact Dr Blake since Thursday evening have proven futile, and when contacted, Gayle asked for some time as he was in an online seminar.

The source, who asked not to be named, said Gayle had the “full confidence of most of the executive” and are expected to back him in his bid for the post.

While saying they were expecting challenges for the position, the source said Gayle, who was also a member of the World Athletics' Technical Committee, was in an ideal position.

“Mr Gayle knows the federation and has the ears of people at the highest places in world track and field, and that is what we need, not a newcomer who needs to start from scratch,” the source said.

Blake has come under pressure over his handling of the affairs of the JAAA and recently Olympic 200m gold medallist Donald Quarrie had called on delegates to remove him come November.

Blake had, however, hit back and dared anyone to show where his administration had fallen short of its mandate.

“Someone need to point out where we have fallen down,” he had told the Jamaica Observer.

“My administration has been the most successful over the last four years, we have topped our medal haul at virtually all major international meets. W have never had it so good,” Blake said further.

Blake, who has served as president for nine years so far — encompassing three consecutive terms — after taking over after the death of former President Howard Aris, had said then he has not given any thought whether he would be seeking a another term in office. “I will not be pressured into making any decisions.” he said defiantly then.

In an interview with the Observer in July, Blake had stoutly defended his tenure and said they had done well apart from the World Championships in London 2017 when the country only got four medals due to what he described “a series of disasters”.

The JAAA boss pointed out that it was his administration that shifted the concentration from just track events to the field events and made sure there were coaches to coach the events and that per capita, Jamaica has more certified coaches than most countries in the world.

When asked whether the performances on the track was a good indication of the strength of the administration, Blake said: “Yes, the two go hand in hand you can't have one without the other.”

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