Bolt unlikely for Carib Games

Bolt, VC doubtful for inaugural Caribbean Games

BY KAYON RAYNOR Senior staff reporter

Wednesday, April 08, 2009

MANY of Jamaica’s top athletes, including world 100 and 200 metres record holder Usain Bolt and two-time Olympic 200m champion Veronica Campbell-Brown, may not be available for the inaugural Caribbean Games in Trinidad & Tobago between July 12 and 19.

Bolt… will compete in Paris during Games in Trinidad
President of the Jamaica Amateur Athletics Association (JAAA), Howard Aris, told the Observer yesterday that these doubts have arisen because the dates of the Caribbean Games clash with the period when the major European meets are taking place.

"What has happened is that the calendar of track & field has already been filled before the emergence of these (Caribbean) Games and unfortunately for track & field the dates ascribed to the meet in Trinidad actually are within that time frame where our top athletes worldwide are competing in Europe.

“That’s where they earn their living and therefore one would have to be very careful not to deprive our athletes of a living,” Aris said.

“So these (European) meets are a means to provide income for these athletes and it’s only unfortunate that there’s going to be this situation this year with the Games in Trinidad and the European programme (because) there is going to be some difficulty in getting our top athletes there,” the JAAA boss added, noting that better planning needs to be done for the second edition of the quadrennial meet in 2013.

However, president and CEO of Supreme Ventures Limited, Brian George, who said his company had been solicited to sponsor the Games by the organising committee in Trinidad & Tobago, said all may not be lost if the top stars from Jamaica fail to make the trip.

CAMPBELL-BROWN… could be involved in major meet in Europe
“Many of these meets ultimately become platforms for emerging athletes, so while it’s usual for us to always think of the current stars and say, ‘If the current stars are not there, then the success of the track meet may be negatively or positively impacted’… the reality is that a lot of these meets are developmental which have the possibility to create a platform for emerging stars and therefore give an opportunity to see somebody… who you may not have thought of, and maybe the next time you see them crossing the finish line in 2012 at the Olympics,” George said.

In the meantime, Aris said the JAAA will be co-operating with its Caribbean counterparts to ensure that Jamaica’s athletics programme is well represented at the Games, which is less than 100 days away.

"My only comment is that we’ll do everything to facilitate that, but we recognise the need for all our athletes in the region, who should be in these Games that they already had commitments for the programme this summer in Europe.

“For example, it’s public knowledge that Usain Bolt is going to compete in Paris on the 17th (of July), while the Games in Trinidad is the 13th and 14th, and you don’t fly across the Atlantic like that,” Aris explained.

The other sporting disciplines to be contested at the inaugural event are tennis, boxing, netball and volleyball. Approximately 26 countries are scheduled to participate.