JAAA pleased with new Tokyo dates

March 31, 2020
Jamaican 400m hurdler Ronda White in training at the Qatar Sports Club ahead of the World Athletics Championships in Doha, Qatar last September.
Jamaican 400m hurdler Ronda White in training at the Qatar Sports Club ahead of the World Athletics Championships in Doha, Qatar last September.
Blake
Blake
Wilson
Wilson
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With new dates for the Tokyo Olympics now finalised, Jamaica Athletics Administrative Association (JAAA) President Dr Warren Blake believes that athletes and coaches can begin to make the adjustments necessary towards their revised target.

In a release from the International Olympic Committee yesterday, the Games, initially set for July 24 to August 9 this year, will now take place from July 23, 2021 to August 8, 2021, after it was postponed last Tuesday because of the coronavirus pandemic. Subsequently, the Paralympic Games' revised dates were also confirmed, now starting from August 24 to September 5, 2021. Blake said the announcement will allow them the opportunity to revise their plans.

Continue training

"It would have given the sporting world a kind of relief that a date has been fixed," Blake told STAR Sports. "Because, at least now we have something that we can work towards, so that people don't have to be in a constant state of readiness for the rest of this year. They can decide whether or not to take a little break, continue training until next year, or even when you take your annual break from training, they can structure the training to be ready in time for the same time this year as it would have been for next year."

While athletes who have already qualified for the Games will keep their positions, Blake acknowledges that it will be difficult for athletes who have not qualified to achieve the required standard, as athletic meets for 2020 are being rescheduled because of the virus.

"There really weren't many chances for people to qualify [this year], although the track and field fraternity is still hoping that later on in the season, they can have all those Diamond League meets which have been rescheduled, and they can still take place," he said. "Even our own main meet (the Jamaica International Invitational) which we have postponed, we are still hoping that we can have it later on in the year."

National track and field head coach Maurice Wilson says that the new schedule is a good platform to begin the revised preparation process, but is awaiting the decision from World Athletics on the status of the meets for 2020 which have been rescheduled, or close to being rescheduled.

"I think what it is important now is to know if there are meets that are going to be planned for the end of the year," he said. "If it is that they go ahead and say that there will be no meets, then it is easier for coaches and managers, and so on, to plan moving forward."

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