Blake says representing Jamaica is still attractive - ......despite those who want to switch allegiance
President of the Jamaica Athletic Administration Association (JAAA) Dr Warren Blake says that he is not worried about Jamaican athletes who may be considering representing other countries
This, after reports surfaced that Jamaica junior sprinter Sachin Dennis is considering to switch allegiances to represent Bahrain. The 17-year-old St Elizabeth Technical High School student holds the class two 100m Champs record. Blake notes that it is the first occurrence since 2015 that a Jamaican athlete has requested to compete for a different country. Kemarly Brown and Andrew Fisher applied and were successful in running for Bahrain.
Blake says that the new regulations instituted by the International Association of Athletics Federation (IAAF) have helped to reduce the rate of athletes changing countries. The new provisions include a three-year waiting period before an athletes may transfer to another federation, evidence that the country is offering full rights and privilege of citizenship and that no transfers can take place before the age of 20. This would mean that Dennis would be ineligible to make the switch at present.
"Athletes still switch but [the rule] has slowed down the rate especially in the African countries," he told STAR Sports. "And if you do switch, you are not allowed to switch to another country. You are only allowed one switch and it's back to the original country from which you came."
Blake says that the pride of representing Jamaica is still a powerful lure for athletes but accepts that they will take their own well being into consideration.
"We hope that the national pride would make them want to run for Jamaica, but, at the end of the day, people still have to earn a living," he said. "You will have people who look at the bottom line first and foremost. If you can't make a Jamaican team and if you can make a team in another country and they are willing to pay you a bigger amount, if that is what you are going to do then you are going to want to go where it is easier for you. And it is usually the financial incentive that makes people want to switch."
He adds that the JAAA cannot force an athlete to change his or her mind about changing affiliations if he or she desires.
"If athletes do want to go elsewhere, in the long run, we cannot do anything to stop them. We just have to make sure that it is done for the right reasons and people are not under undue pressure or people are not being sold. So once that is done and the people are properly migrated, then we cannot stop that from happening," he said.