Monday 16 September, 2019

Lack of funding forces cancellation of Jamaica Invitational meet

American Allyson Felix takes a selfie with a track and field fan at the 2017 staging of the Jamaica International Invitational Meet.

American Allyson Felix takes a selfie with a track and field fan at the 2017 staging of the Jamaica International Invitational Meet.

Organisers of the Jamaica International Invitational Meet (JIIM) says insufficient funding has prompted the decision to cancel the 2019 edition of the meet that was set for Saturday, May 4 at the National Stadium.

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. 

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.”

The meet was first held in May 2004.

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