It's time to take up mantle and lead JAAA, says Gayle

Sport

It's time to take up mantle and lead JAAA, says Gayle

BY PAUL A REID
Observer writer
reidp@jamaicaobserver.com

Wednesday, November 25, 2020

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Long-serving track and field official Garth Gayle says he thinks after four decades of service and having served under several outstanding leaders, it is his time to take up the mantle and lead the Jamaica Athletics Administrative Association (JAAA).

Gayle, the honorary secretary of the JAAA for the last 20 years and the principal of Charlemont High School, will go up against Olympic hero Donald Quarrie for the post of president at Saturday's annual general meeting at the National Arena starting at 9:00 am.

Some 325 people will be eligible to vote in the election that will be supervised by the Electoral Office of Jamaica (EOJ) comprising 261 individual members and 32 clubs with two votes each.

In an interview on Saturday after he met with delegates from western and central Jamaica at the St Elizabeth Technical High School in Santa Cruz, Gayle, who is also a member of the Technical Committee of World Athletics (WA), said: “Having served the sport that I love for over 40 years, 40 wonderful years and 20 years as the honorary secretary of the JAAA, I have had the privilege of working with persons like Howard Aris, Neville 'Teddy' McCook, Freddie Green and Adrian Wallace, these individuals have been towers of strength and have given me a lot of knowledge and I believe that at this stage of my life I am now ready to take on the role of president of this noble association that has been in existence from 1932.”

He has assembled a slate of 17 candidates but there will be competition for three posts and he said he welcomed the challenge as it was part of the system of democracy.

In addition to Quarrie, Anthony Davis will be going for the post of honorary secretary, while Wayne Long will vie for the post of director of the Bureau of Record. “We live in a democratic country and I am happy and pleased to see that democracy is happening in Jamaica, I welcome the candidates, all the persons who have put their hats in the ring,”said Gayle.

He said he charged his team to be guided by three principles. “We are going to be apolitical, we are not going to get involved in mudslinging and we are going to be respectful of each other. So for me and my transformation team we will be observing and ensuring that we maintain these three principles going into the elections.”

Gayle said his team was a good one, with “dedicated persons, all these individuals have given of themselves for the development of track and field in Jamaica and it was not a difficult task getting them to join me”.

Having assisted former presidents “in assembling successful and victorious teams in the past and this time around would be no different,” Gayle listed the likes of Inter-secondary Schools Sports Association President Keith Wellington, businessman Ian Forbes, Heleen Francis from the financial sector, noted physician Dr Carl Bruce, and singled out his candidate for the post of honorary secretary, Marie Tavares.

“She has been the assistant secretary for the past 16 years and the JAAA is indebted to her for all these years of service and I am sure that when we are victorious on the 28th Jamaica will become even more in love as the athletes, officials and administrators have been of this wonderful lady,” Gayle said.

His plans for the association include the “improving communication and governance structure of the JAAA, bringing it in line with World Athletics. We are going to look at grass roots programmes, we are going to bring back youth camps, these unearthed talents such as Veronica Campbell-Brown and Sherone Simpson”, a plan similar to one that his opponent, Quarrie, also said he planned on doing.

The camps would be very important, given the effects of the coronavirus pandemic as “we have to make sure the youngsters stay with the sport”.

They will also be “improving on our marketing and Brand Jamaica, to ensure local, regional and international companies will benefit from working with us”, and asked local companies to get on board.

The tracking of athletes from high school would also be improved “as we need to ensure that at any given time we know where our athletes are, how they are doing, those moving from secondary school into the collegiate ranks and then on to elite track and field programmes. We want to be there for them from day one because the JAAA is also about the athletes, they are very importation stakeholders and why it is we are here as our mandate clearly states, the management of track and field in Jamaica”.


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