Focus on regional track meets
More than 50 track and field athletes will don the black, green and gold next week at the 23rd staging of the Central American and Caribbean Games in Barranquilla, Colombia.
This is one of the largest teams the Jamaica Athletics Administrative Association has ever fielded at a regional meet and president of the association, Dr Warren Blake, said the move was in accordance with IAAF plans to improve the quality of regional meets around the world.
"The IAAF is trying to encourage regional meets; to improve the whole offering of track and field and it is something that we as an association has been paying attention to," Blake told STAR Sports yesterday.
"The IAAF is putting the spotlight on these meets and the athletes are responding because they realise that if they win at these meets it can help them to get in the Diamond League meets where they can earn a living."
In order to encourage athletes to participate at these meets, the IAAF has stipulated that winners of each event from the North American, Central American and Caribbean Championships, which is scheduled for Toronto, Canada next month, will be given a bye to participate at the IAAF World Championships in Qatar next year.
"This benefits our athletes a lot because it means more competitions for up and coming and future stars and Jamaica will be better represented at these regional meets," Blake explained.
"What we are hoping for is for the athletes to go there to do their best. There is no pressure for them to try and win the most medals or anything like that."
A number of Olympic and World Championships medallists, like Sherone Simpson and Nesta Carter, have made themselves available for the Games.