Organisers keep hope alive with September date for JII meet, but...


Organisers keep hope alive with September date for JII meet, but...

Friday, May 15, 2020

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All is not lost for the return of the Jamaica International Invitational (JII) meet to the extent that a tentative date for early September has been set, says president of the Jamaica Athletics Administrative Association (JAAA) Dr Warren Blake.

The event, which started in 2004 as an Area Permit Meet but has since grown into a part of the IAAF World Challenge Series, was originally set to be held on Saturday, May 2, and a number of top local and international athletes, including six gold medallists from last year's Doha World Championships were confirmed.

However, the date had to be pushed back after the COVID-19 pandemic affected sports globally.

The organisers, Blake said, had discussed “a tentative date for September” with World Athletics announcing a rescheduled international track and field calendar for between August and October.

A firm date would not be able to be set before later in the year, contingent on several factors, Blake told the Jamaica Observer on Wednesday. To be considered is the physical condition of the invited athletes and whether the international invitees would be able to travel to Jamaica and compete in a reasonable time span.

Early July, two months out of the tentative date of the JII would be the cut off date to make the decision, Blake said.

In the event that sufficient international athletes would not be able to compete, there is a possibility that the meet would see local athletes filling out the spots, but the JAAA boss said that would have to be ultimately decided on by the organising committee.

Eighteen world-class athletes, including the half-dozen Doha gold medallists, were confirmed earlier in the year with Jamaicans Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce, the 100m champion, and Tajay Gayle, the long jump winner, indicating their willingness to take part.

The other Doha winners who had signed up were 100m hurdles winner Nia Ali and 400m hurdles gold medallist Dalilah Muhammad, both of whom are World record holders in their disciplines.

American sprint gold medallists Christian Coleman and Noah Lyles have also indicated they would have competed.

The others who had confirmed includes Rio Olympics double sprint champion Elaine Thompson, Doha silver medallists Shanieka Ricketts and Danniel Thomas-Dodd of Jamaica; Bahamian Shaunae Miller-Uibo and American Kendra Harrison as well as bronze medallists, the Jamaica trio of Shericka Jackson, Danielle Williams and Rushell Clayton.

The men's list includes discus thrower Fedrick Dacres and Yohan Blake, Canadian Andre Degrasse and American Justin Gatlin.

The events down to be contested at the meet are the 100m, 200m, 400m, 800m and 400m hurdles for male and female; 100m hurdles, triple jump and shot put for women and 110m hurdles, long jump and discus throw for men.

— Paul Reid

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