Athlete transfers would hurt Jamaica - Blake

February 08, 2017
Merlene Ottey
Germaine Mason

President of the Jamaica Athletics Administrative Association (JAAA) Dr Warren Blake said the fact that some Jamaican athletes who switch allegiance to other countries continue to train in Jamaica could have had some bearing on the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) decision to place a freeze on athletes' transfers of allegiance.

The IAAF made the statement on Monday.

According to statistics on the IAAF's website, since 1998, 12 Jamaicans have switched allegiance.


Switched allegiance


In 2015, three Jamaican sprinters Winston Barnes, Kemarley Brown, and Andrew Fisher switched allegiance to Turkey and Bahrain, respectively. All three represented their respective countries at last year's Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro.

The transfers were controversial and Blake had raised concern about the practice.

He also noted that in the case of Jamaicans many of them continue to train in Jamaica even after switching allegiance.

"...And it's clear they don't live in the country. It's things like that that prompted the IAAF to say they need to regularise it," he added.

Blake also said that fact that some countries went only in search of the top tier athletes meant that if more Jamaicans were gobbled by wealthy countries, within 10 years the country would begin to suffer a shortage of talent.

"They (other countries) are not really interested in second-stream people. It is only top tier people they are after and they have significantly deep pockets and if you remove 10 people each year out of the programme it would not take long to affect Jamaica," Blake told STAR Sports.

Jamaica's most famous transfer athlete has been Merlene Ottey while high jumper Germaine Mason won a silver medal at the Beijing Olympics representing Great Britain.

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