Athletes set to cash in at JOA/JAAA Olympic Destination SeriesTuesday, May 18, 2021
By Dwayne Richards
The Jamaica Olympic Association (JOA)/Jamaica Athletics Administrative Association (JAAA) Olympic Destination Series will get going this Saturday with the first in the three-meet series starting at 8:15 am and ending at 10:45 am.
The other two events in the series will be on consecutive Saturdays on May 29 and June 5.
Ludlow Watts, treasurer of the JAAA, outlined the need for the event and the costs associated with the staging of the event, at a recent launch of the series.
“The COVID-19 pandemic has set us back immeasurably; maybe the only consoling factor is the recognition that athletes from all other countries which compete against Jamaica on the biggest stages have had to endure similar challenges.
“It is quite evident though that foreign threats have been intensifying as we note encouraging athletic performances emerging from near and far. Of course, as always, it is competition that has been driving such performances and thankfully we are now in a better place to plan meets, which will provide the type of competition for our athletes that will help to get them into shape to represent Jamaica and to represent us well on the international stage,” Watts said.
Watts indicated that the event is to have a two-fold effect: to provide competition and to provide financial incentives to the athletes who have had their earnings significantly impacted by the pandemic.
“The JOA/JAAA Olympic Destination Series event planned for May 22, 29 and June 5 is intended to provide good-quality competition. It bears repeating that not only have our national athletes been without active competition for too long, but by and large they have been without regular income and this series of events will address both.”
The athletes will participate in 14 events each week, with the incentives associated with each event being rotated on a week-to-week basis.
“We are planning to stage 14 events on each of the three weeks and the JAAA will provide cash prizes totalling $2,124,000 each week, in two categories, namely, Premium and Classic. The Premium event winners will earn a total of $1,476,000 while the Classic event winners will earn $648,000 each week. Prize monies will be awarded up to sixth place in each event. There will also be non-prize events each week,” Watts outlined.
On May 22, the Premium events will be 100m for men and women, 400m for men and women, 200m for men and discus for men.
The Classic events will be men's 110m hurdles, women's 200m, women's 400m hurdles and women's long jump. The non-prize events will be men's 400m hurdles and 800m and women's 100m hurdles and discus.
For the staging of the events on May 29 and June 5, the 14 events will be reclassified and rotated in terms of Premium, Classic and non-prize events, to guarantee equity in terms of competition preparation and benefits.
A fourth event on June 19 will be the qualifying events for the Paralympians. No prize money will be offered on this day.
In addition to the Paralympics Championships, a few events will be offered to athletes who may wish to have a final sharpening-up session, in final preparation for the National Championships.
The overall cost of this innovative undertaking is projected at $19,800,000 of which $7 million will be funded by the JOA and the balance of $12,800,000 from the JAAA internal cash flow. The JAAA is currently engaged with potential sponsors to seek additional support.
A performance chart is being developed to reflect performance standards required to earn prize monies.
Watts also announced another incentive for outstanding performances.
“As a special incentive to our national athletes, we will offer cash bonuses to all those who record the Olympic qualifying standard for their event during the competitions,” he said.
Watts thanked the JOA for the role it has played in ensuring that the series can take place.
“The JAAA is indebted to our JOA partners for collaborating with us to make the proposed staging of the series possible. This is geared towards preparing our national athletes for the Tokyo Olympics and certainly the National Championships.”
The three-meet series is also being seen as a precursor to the National Championships from which members of the Olympic team to Tokyo, Japan, will be selected.
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