Is WADA's four-year ban on Russia a just decision?

By December 10, 2019
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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  • Fraser-Pryce, Miller-Uibo among 24-member board of officially formed The Athletics Association Fraser-Pryce, Miller-Uibo among 24-member board of officially formed The Athletics Association

    Several Caribbean athletes including Olympic champions Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce and Shaunae Miller-Uibo will comprise a 24-member board of the now formally established The Athletics Association (TAA) that will look out for the best interests of track and field athletes across the globe.

    The AA was formed in response to the calls from athletes worldwide for independent representation. “The objective of The Athletics Association is to provide Track and Field athletes with a meaningful voice, to fight for stronger athletes’ rights, and to seek an athletes-first approach to our sport,” the association said in a statement released today.

    The Athletics Association aims to engage in positive dialogue with the sport’s governing body, World Athletics, and their own athletes’ commission, but will, of course, hold World Athletics to account when necessary and challenge them if they are not acting in the best interest of the athletes.

    Fraser-Pryce, who last year, won an unprecedented fourth World 100m title in Doha, Qatar, sits on the board representing the sprints while Miller-Uibo, the 2016 Olympic 400m champion and 2019 400m silver medallist, represents the Americas alongside Mikel Thomas from Trinidad and Tobago.

    Four-time World triple jump champion Christian Taylor is the association’s president and steeplechaser Emma Coburn is the vice president.

    According to the association’s statement, they have been busy developing a number of support services and member benefits for athletes, including a hardship grant fund, training courses, and discounts on products.

    Details of the full annual membership package will be announced ahead of the full roll-out in January 2021.

    Chief among their initial goals, TAA said, is the intention to lobby World Athletics and the Diamond League stakeholders regarding the changes to the Diamond League schedule that were announced for 2020. Those changes included removing the 200m, triple jump and discus from the Diamond League circuit relegating those events to a newly formed Continental Series.

    “We will offer suggestions and alternatives that would include all stadium disciplines, and would benefit athletes and fans, as well as the long term interests of this diverse and wonderful sport,” the statement said.

    They also want to gain a seat at the table with World Athletics to command real involvement and power when it comes to decision-making in the sport, as they look to amplify the voices of its members and athletes all over the world.

    They also plan to announce an Athletics Association’s welfare charter, highlighting their commitment to improving the conditions for athletes across a range of issues as well as solidify a membership package that will begin in January 2021 and will offer access to courses on issues such as financial literacy and life after athletics, and also discounts on products.

    Critically, they also plan to present World Athletics with innovative ideas for the growth of the sport.

     “I am very proud of the progress made by the members of the Athletics Association Board. Since its initial inception, a lot of work has been put in to establish the right governance and long-term viability that is essential to do justice to the athletes we represent. It’s this that has attracted the commitment and support of the athletes on the Board. We have athletes from every continent, and a wide variety of disciplines; we are made up of Olympic and World champions, as well as world record holders and continental champions, “ said AA President Taylor.

     “In addition to the board members, there are so many other athletes who have helped get us to this stage. World Athletics recently published a strategic plan, and athletes have been identified as key stakeholders. The Athletics Association provides a representative voice and a simple way for the sport’s governing body to follow through on their commitment. We are ready to contribute to the growth of the sport that we love, ensuring that athletes are part of the decision-making process.  This association is for the athletes, by the athletes, and we are determined to make a real difference. We firmly believe that we can affect positive change in our sport. We are ready for the challenge.”

    The Athletics Association has also agreed to a strategic partnership with Global Athlete, a progressive athlete start-up movement aiming to inspire greater athlete representation in organisations across the world of sport. The partnership brings together two organisations with similar values to collaborate on projects, share insights and drive change that will ultimately benefit the athletes and the sport.

    “Global Athlete is proud to be a partner with the Athletics Association. Establishing an independent association is a critical step in enhancing athletes’ rights. It is so important for athletes to have their own representation” said Rob Koehler, Global Athlete Director-General.

     “The sport of athletics needs to find a new and exciting path for success. This success can only be possible with real meaningful athlete engagement. Athletes have the desire to further grow the sport while at the same time ensuring the utmost care is given to athletes’ rights. Together we are stronger.” said Emma Coburn, The Athletics Association Vice-President.

     The Athletics Association Board is made up of representatives from every continent and comprises 24 athletes, including individual global champions: Christian Taylor (President) Emma Coburn (Vice-President), Allyson Felix, Ashton Eaton, Julius Yego, Katarina Johnson-Thompson, Shaunae Miller-Uibo, Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce, Tianna Bartoletta and Tom Walsh.

     

  • Bolt, you’re great, don’t come back – how’s the music thing coming? Bolt, you’re great, don’t come back – how’s the music thing coming?

    Sprint sensation Usain Bolt told Variety Magazine he’d consider coming back to the track, but there are other endeavours I would like to see the great sprinter explore. He has nothing more to prove on the track.

    When Bolt made an appearance on OnStage to promote the ‘riddim’ he produced for his Champagne’s campaign, Wilford Williams, the host, asked the record holder why he got into music.

    “I was always into music. Music has always been a part of my life throughout my career of track and field. But with the music thing enuh, it’s not easy to deal with these artistes; it’s not really an easy thing,” said Bolt.

    Bolt continued to say that he’ll wait to see how well the riddim does before seeing if putting effort and time into music is worth it. But music is always worth it.

    I only knew Tivoli Gardens as a political garrison, until I learned about Passa Passa. On Wednesday nights. Thousands of people would gather in the streets of West Kingston to dance and listen to music played by the sound system.

    An article titled, ‘Happy Birthday Passa Passa!’ gave me a sense of how powerful music, like sports, can be in uniting people. Two selectors (Djs) from the sound system Swatch International were featured in the article— Nico Skill and Maestro.

    Nicholas “Nico Skill” Smith explained how music reduced violence in the area.

    “Before Passa Passa, there was crazy war going on in Kingston, in the Denham Town, Tivoli area and all these places. Every minute, we had something flare up. But since Passa Passa came about, we’ve been playing and it’s been drawing such a huge crowd, the violence in the community is no more. Communities have been fighting, but not in the Tivoli area,” said Nico Skill.

    Carl “Maestro” Shelley co-signed Nico’s opinions.

    “Jamaica was on the verge of a dancehall breakdown. Fun and unity had deteriorated. Different people from different areas, different communities that shared different political views, did not cooperate. We introduced Passa Passa and it became a way of unifying the garrisons, the communities that make up Jamaica’s inner city.”

    Music (however it’s delivered) can bring out the good in people and places. Making it worthwhile.

    Please share your thoughts on Twitter (@SportsMax_Carib) or in the comments section on Facebook (@SportsMax). Don’t forget to use #IAmNotAFan. Until next time!

  • Doha gold has Natalliah Whyte hungry for more in Tokyo Doha gold has Natalliah Whyte hungry for more in Tokyo

    Natalliah Whyte doesn’t remember much about her gold medal performance at the 2019 World Athletics Championships in Doha, Qatar. She does remember the feeling of winning and it has been driving her on to win another medal at the Tokyo Olympics in Japan next year.

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