Sun | Sep 22, 2019

JAAA sets up practice runs for relay teams

Published:Tuesday | August 20, 2019 | 12:18 AMRobert Bailey/Gleaner Writer
Jonielle Smith (left) receives the baton from Shashalee Forbes in the women’s 4x100 metre relay heats at the IAAF World Relays in Yokohama, Japan, earlier this year.
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President of the Jamaica Athletics Administrative Association (JAAA) Dr Warren Blake has said that the country’s male and female sprint relay teams are set to get ­valuable practice ahead of the World Championships in Doha, Qatar, when they compete at the Zurich Diamond League in Sweden on August 28.

Jamaica’s sprints relay teams had somewhat of a disappointing showing at the last World Championships in 2017, with their male team, with Usain Bolt on anchor, failing to finish. The double sprint world record holder pulled up injured shortly after receiving the baton.

The women’s sprint relay team, who won back-to-back gold ­medals at the 2013 and 2015 World Championships, ended a ­disappointing third at the last championships in London.

At the World Relays in Japan earlier this year, the men’s team finished sixth, while the women ran second.

Blake told The Gleaner that Jamaica’s participation in Zurich and at other meets will give the country’s athletes valuable practice ahead of next month’s showpiece event in Doha.

“We are paying a little more attention to the relays, in the sense that we are making plans for the relay teams to get a few races in so that they can practise baton changes under competitive circumstances,” said Blake.

“I think with that in mind, there will be a relay race in Zurich at the Diamond League where team Jamaica will be represented,” he added.

“We are trying to get our top athletes on these teams, and so we are trying to get as many members of our potential 4x100m teams for this race in Zurich. We are also looking around for other opportunities to give the relay teams competitive practices,” Blake said.

The JAAA boss also confirmed that the team’s one-week training camp will be held in Doha ahead of the start of the World Championships, which will be held from September 27 to October 6. He stressed the importance of the exercise and underlined that all team members were expected to attend.

“We are going to be having a camp, and we expect that the athletes will turn up at the camp,” said Blake. “Team building is very important, and this camp will allow the athletes to get themselves acclimatise to the conditions in Doha.”