'We did not want to stage 'watered down' Jamaica International Invitational' - organizers

By April 29, 2019

Organizers of the Jamaica International Invitational Meet (JIIM) said on Monday, insufficient funding and not wanting to stage a ‘watered down’ prompted the decision to cancel the 2019 edition of the meet that was set for this May-4 weekend.

The JIIM was first held in May 2004 and was stage for several world-class performances from some of the world’s greatest athletes like Usain Bolt, Carmelita Jeter, Elaine Thompson and Asafa Powell.

According to the organisers, the meet made a name for itself by the numerous world-class athletes which it has attracted from across the globe, and the annual staging was only made possible through sponsorship from the private and public sectors.

Athletes fees consumed the bulk of that sponsorship, organisers said.

However, in recent years, weak fields and a diminishing audience has caused the meet to lose some of its appeal. In 2018, athletes competed before a sparse crowd at the National Stadium in Kingston. That the meet was only announced on May 2 just 17 days prior to the meet itself, may have had some impact on the disappointing turnout.

 Just last week, news emerged that the JIIM was at risk of being postponed or even cancelled because of insufficient sponsorship.

Garth Gayle, a member of the organising committee told Sportsmax.TV that they were working feverishly to make the meet happen this year. Less than 48 hours later, an advisory was posted on the meet’s website that there would be no track meet this year.

On Monday, a statement over the signature of Dr. Warren Blake, the Chairman of the Organising Committee was released to the media which confirmed the cancellation and offered some reasons why.

“The current reality is that the level of sponsorship promised/received is insufficient to allow us to stage anything but a watered down version of what is expected of the Jamaica International Invitational Meet,” the statement read.

“Accordingly, we regret to inform, that after consultation with the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) it has been decided to cancel all plans for this year’s staging of the JIIM.”

 

Leighton Levy

Leighton Levy is a journalist with 28 years’ experience covering crime, entertainment, and sports. He joined the staff at SportsMax.TV as a content editor two years ago and is enjoying the experience of developing sports content and new ideas. At SportsMax.tv he is pursuing his true passion - sports.

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