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Coe believes in Caribbean potential for major championships

Published:Tuesday | August 29, 2023 | 12:08 AMDaniel Wheeler/Staff Reporter
President of World Athletics, Sebastian Coe
President of World Athletics, Sebastian Coe

BUDAPEST, Hungary

World Athletics President Sebastian Coe says despite the climate change issues and other factors, he hopes that the Caribbean will be in a position to stage a major championships in the future.

Coe was speaking at Sunday’s end-of-championship press conference after Budapest’s staging which saw Jamaica accumulate 12 medals after nine days of competition. Coe, in his pre-championship press conference on August 18, spoke about the impact that climate change will have on where championships are held in the future.

With the Bahamas hosting the World Relays next year and Jamaica having its own plans to get the final approval for the renovation of the National Stadium, Coe said that despite the challenges, he hopes that the region will have the chance to host a major championship and believes that the infrastructure that is being planned will boost those chances. Additionally, Coe said that discussions were being had into extending into hosting a Continental Tour event and eventually a Diamond League event.

“The Bahamas is delivering our World Relays next year. They are ambitious, infrastructurally. They have got a good stadium. Obviously, some work would need to be done on it. I know that I was talking to Olivia Grange, the sports minister of Jamaica, she is now talking about an upgrade to the National Stadium. I am hoping and I am sensing that these championships are focused on having a lot of minds around the athletics sporting landscape and building new stadia,” Coe said.

“I hope the Caribbean does stage a major championship some day. Climate change is a challenge. But it is a challenge everywhere. Obviously, you do have a hurricane season which we know causes significant difficulties and has caused devastation in the past,” Coe said.

Minister Grange in June, during her contribution to the 2023-24 Sectoral Debate, said that she has given her team 12 months to report back to the Public Investment Management Committee on all that is required to take the project to the next phase.

Coe said that because of the proactive engagement, it has resulted in attractive bids.

“The great thing now is that we are more interactive and hands-on, we are not just sitting there and waiting for a federation to come to us and say we would like to stage a games. We are now speaking at a political level to cities and to countries that we didn’t in the past. And that’s why you are now getting so many great bids for all our championships,” Coe said.

Coe said last year after the World Championships in Oregon that getting the National Stadium redevelopment project off the ground would be key to Jamaica being considered for a major championship.