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Campbell Brown thoughts : JA vs USA meet

Posted by Dresonic on May 7, 2009

FIVE-time Olympic medallist Veronica Campbell Brown believes that a cash incentive will be one of the deciding factors if the proposed USA vs Jamaica dual meet is to be realised next year.

Two months ago on March 7, Doug Logan, the CEO of USA Track and Field (USATF), hand-delivered an initial letter to NACAC president Neville ‘Teddy’ McCook inviting Jamaica to engage in a home-and-away series in 2009 that would pit the two nations’ sprinters and hurdlers against each other in head-to-head, team-scored competition.

However, that clash has been pushed back to at least 2010, because of a clash of dates on the IAAF calendar of events.

Campbell Brown, who was recently in Jamaica as part of the IAAF’s Day in the Life programme told the Observer that athletes would have to be compensated to guarantee the dual meets’ success.

“It will come down to how it fits in each athlete’s schedule, because if there is no money involved and there is a meet on the same weekend where people will be getting paid, a lot of athletes are going to choose to run where they’re getting paid as opposed to running for free,” Campbell Brown said.

“I don’t really know much about the USA versus Jamaica competition, but it would have to fit into my schedule… we’ll have to just wait and see when the time comes how that will work,” she added.

Meanwhile, Campbell Brown, who amassed five medals – one gold and four silver – at the 2005 Helsinki and 2007 Osaka World Championships, believes that: “If certain (elite) athletes are running, then it may motivate others to want to join in.”

At the time of the proposal, president of the Jamaica Amateur Athletics Association (JAAA) Howard Aris re-affirmed that Jamaica remains committed to any event that will ultimately help in the development of the country’s athletics.

“We must be satisfied that we will also benefit from such an event both in terms of the costs to us as well as the type of athletes that we’ll be able to provide to this competition,” Aris said.

With all the logistics still to be finalised between the JAAA and USATF, Campbell Brown thinks the dual meet would not carry the same importance as the Jamaican athletes going up against Americans at the Olympics.

“If it’s not going to be all the USA’s top athletes and all of Jamaica’s top athletes running, I don’t think it will make much sense, because it’s not going to be a true reflection of say, ‘if Jamaica win or USA win’, it has to be a real competition,” the three-time national Sportswoman of the Year said.

Last month, former world 100m record holder Asafa Powell poured cold water on the USA/Jamaica Challenge, saying it was not important. “I don’t really see the importance of it,” Powell was quoted as saying. “There are many Grand Prix and Golden League meets out there that we are going to be competing against each other in, so it doesn’t make any sense to me,” added the Jamaican sprinter, who has produced 48 sub-10 clockings in his career.

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