Thu | Apr 15, 2021

Garth Gayle | JAAA targeting improvement through core pillars

Published:Sunday | September 27, 2020 | 12:13 AM

Sporting bodies globally are continuously challenged to operate in a more efficient way, as the issues of governance and leadership are the core of management.

The Jamaica Athletics Administrative Association (JAAA) is one of the world’s most proficient sporting administrative association. One of the region’s leading sport outfit will, under my watch, be focused on a number of key pillars to strengthen the organisation and achieving the objectives for which the body is mandated.

Strategic direction and focus for the organisation over the next few years will be paramount, as these elements are within our sphere of control and must be optimised. As we are seeing today, there is a plethora of elements that are external to our sphere of control vis-a-vis the current global pandemic.

There are four key areas of focus including:

• Human capacity development

• Strategic marketing and brand optimisation

• Medical optimisation – anti doping and COVID-19 protocol development

• Strategic partnerships and governance.

The track and field landscape requires a number of critical inputs related to technical expertise and administrative proficiency. These are the unseen processes and professionals that underline the validity of our excellence on the track. If nothing else, the COVID-19 pandemic has exposed the critical areas required in moving forward within the new paradigm, attendant to all sporting disciplines and occasions. If we intend to remain viable and world-leading, we must understand that the one constant is change and so new skill sets will be required.


Strategic marketing and attendant brand optimisation is another critical area that will drive the business of Jamaica’s track and field in the future. One just needs a glancing view to realise that the social media and platforms for engagement are changing almost daily.

The reality here is that these changes offer spectacular opportunities for engagement for athletes and other stakeholders. Our task is to ensure that we train and teach these existing and budding ambassadors how to capitalise and manage their personal brand assets in the most sophisticated ways congruent with the current realities.

As an organisation, we are blessed to be at the heart of Brand Jamaica in sports. If one were to calculate the value of Brand Jamaica impressions generated by Usain Bolt, Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce and company over the years, we would be staggered at the numbers. Estimates for 2012 Olympics 100m final in London range into the hundreds of millions of dollars. It would be challenging to list all the opportunities under this thrust in one page.

My task is, therefore, to facilitate the monetisation of the brand for the benefit of all stakeholders.


The medical integrity of the sport is integral to its success and credibility; indeed, its very essence depends on the nuances of fairness and integrity and a level playing field for all. Even prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, the general sport was challenged in this area.

The critical input here for us is to continue to enshrine robust structural components that serve to protect our sport from any unintentional possibilities regarding anti-doping breaches. Jamaica has been a stellar performer in this category for decades and will continue to be, with continuous training and updated skill set in the anti-doping and knowledge improvement of the stakeholders.

The strategic partnerships and governance modalities may seem to be at different ends of the spectrum; however, if one understands the nexus between track and field and earning potential, we will see that there is a symbiosis between the two elements.

Allow me to explain. Strategic partnerships, between the administration and entities including government, sponsors, other countries and entities, who see the obvious value in Jamaica’s track and field programme, present the greatest opportunity for earnings for the vast majority of stakeholders, athletes, coaches, physiotherapists, patrons, etc.

As the governing body, the most optimal way to continue to capitalise on this is by ensuring that core governance modalities are in place. These modalities will undergird our promise as a nation and the integrity of our partnerships, so they both go hand in hand.

The future, therefore, belongs to those administrations that are best able to manage these principles. It is my belief that the JAAA has been remarkable in its current context and embraces fully the challenges to come, as we will convert them into opportunities.

- Garth Gayle has served as general secretary of the Jamaica Athletics Administrative Association (JAAA), providing support to three presidents since 2000. Gayle is a candidate for the presidency of the JAAA.