Sun | Aug 9, 2020

Blake optimistic about 2021 season

Published:Monday | June 8, 2020 | 12:00 AMHubert Lawrence/Gleaner Writer
Jamaica’s gold medal-winning women’s 4x100m relay team of (from left) Natalliah Whyte, Shericka Jackson, Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce, and Jonielle Smith at the World Athletics Championships in Doha, Qatar, on Saturday, October 5, 2019.
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Jamaica Athletics Administrative Association (JAAA) president Warren Blake’s end to this term in office has seen a pandemic affect what might have been a happy last season, and he’s disappointed. But he says the country will do well when the sport resumes.

“It’s really difficult because if your term of office is coming to an end and you’ve been expecting a very good year, as Jamaica was expected to have a very good year, and to have a pandemic disrupt the entire track and field season is disappointing, but life is what it is,” Blake said.

The country garnered 12 medals at the World Athletics Championships in Doha, Qatar, last year, with gold for sprinter Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce, long jumper Tajay Gayle, and the women’s 4x100m relay team. In addition, Fedrick Dacres and Danniel Thomas-Dodd broke new ground for Jamaica with medals, both silver, in the men’s discus and women’s shot put.

MEDAL HAUL

Jamaica’s all-time World Championship medal haul now stands at 127, with 41 garnered during Blake’s presidency. In the same period, Jamaica has won 23 Olympic medals, a good chunk of the nation’s all-time haul of 78.

During this golden era, champions like the incomparable Usain Bolt, Fraser-Pryce, Veronica Campbell-Brown, Melaine Walker, and Omar McLeod drove Jamaica’s standing in the sport upward. Seventeen gold medals came to the island from the Worlds. At the Olympics, 10 of Jamaica’s 22 all-time gold medals were garnered during this period of success.

“We don’t call the shots, we just have to go with them and adjust accordingly,” Blake said.

Blake came to office after the passing of former JAAA president Howard Aris in 2011. Whether he continues on for another term is still unsure as Blake says he has not yet decided if he wants to.

Jamaica struggled at the 2017 World Championships, with McLeod’s 110m hurdles gold being one of just four medals won in chilly London, England. However, the improvement to three gold, five silver, and four bronze medals last year has left Blake in a positive mood with regard to the future. “We just have to make preparations for next year,” he said. “Jamaica will have a good year next year.”