New Jamaican world trials dates worry other meet organisers
By Gene Cherry
Feb 13 (Reuters) - The Jamaican athletics federation's decision to hold their world championships trials during a period typically reserved for Diamond League and other meetings is raising global concerns.
Event organisers fear that staging the trials from June 20-23 would result in high-profile athletes from the Caribbean nation missing their one-day meetings.
Olympic and world hurdles champion Omar McLeod, double Olympic sprint gold medallist Elaine Thompson and twice Olympic 100m champion Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce are among the Jamaicans who typically compete in the Prefontaine Classic in the U.S.
"That (the June dates) would make it unlikely that the coaches of some of the top Jamaican sprinters would let their athletes compete at Pre and risk serious injury or sub-par performances," Tom Jordan, the meeting director, told Reuters.
Athletics' global governing body, the IAAF, confirmed to Reuters that "there are ongoing discussions between the IAAF and JAAA (the Jamaican Athletics Admninistative Association) about this scheduling issue." It did not elaborate.
JAAA general secretary Garth Gayle said the matter was under discussion.
"We are in receipt of the document (from the IAAF) and the board will be discussing the matter most urgently because it impacts many stakeholders," Gayle told Reuters.
As currently scheduled, Jamaica's trials would be held near or during the dates set for the Rabat Diamond League in Morocco and Adidas Boost Boston Games, both on June 16, the Ostrava Golden Spike meeting on June 20 and Prefontaine Classic Diamond League meeting in Stanford, California on June 30.
"The decision is not good in principle for the world-wide calendar," Ostrava Golden Spike meeting director Jan Zelezny said in an email to Reuters. "It would be more appropriate to stage it when the period is reserved for the national championships in the Americas like USA has it at the end of July."
While the decision would be unlikely to have a major impact on this year's Ostrava meeting in the Czech Republic, "in the past it would be a big problem when we expected stars like Usain Bolt or Asafa Powell," Zelezny said.
The JAAA announced earlier this month that June was "the most convenient date for all stakeholders involved. "Due to the late scheduling of the World Championships in Qatar, September 28-October 6, there was some difficulty in arriving at a date convenient to all parties," it added. (Reporting by Gene Cherry in Raleigh, North Carolina. Additional reporting by Kayon Raynor in Kingston, Jamaica; Editing by Ken Ferris)