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Blake Is Back... Turns Back Rivals In JAAA Race
Raymond Graham, Gleaner Writer
Dr Warren Blake scored a resounding victory over his rivals at the National Arena last night to retain the presidency of the powerful Jamaica Athletics Administrative Association (JAAA).
Blake, a medical doctor, tallied 177 votes to turn back the challenges of lawyer Lincoln Eatmon, 121, and Olympian-turned-sports administrator Grace Jackson, 28 votes, at the association's annual general meeting (AGM).
The election, which was conducted by members of the Electoral Office of Jamaica, went very smoothly. There was no evidence last night of the tension which preceded the AGM as delegates mingled together.
When Justice Lensley Wolfe made the announcement declaring the winner, there was mixed feeling as several supporters of Blake applauded while there were sad faces among the Eatmon followers. Most thought that they had the votes to defeat Blake.
Security was tight at the National Arena as voters had to show some form of identification to get in and their names had to be on the delegates list.
Several past athletes and coaches from overseas were present. These included Olympians Winthrop Graham, Davian Clarke, Lacena Golding Clarke and Nikole Mitchell. The current athletes present included Olympians Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce, Nester Carter, Asafa Powell, Sherone Simpson, Shericka Williams, Christine Day, Kaliese Spencer, Shereefa Lloyd, Jermaine Gonzales and Edino Steele. Lennox Graham and Mark Elliot were two of the overseas coaches present.
Blake said the record of his administration was there for all to see.
"I am not surprised with my easy win tonight as we have done the work and Jamaica has had one of its most successful years at both the junior and senior levels," said Blake.
Eatmon, who lost his bid to head one of the most prestigious sporting bodies locally, expressed sadness at his defeat.
"I am disappointed ... but this is what the membership wanted and we have to respect this. We came into the race a bit late and we thought we had done enough ... ," said Eatmon who also thought that the low turnout of voters did not help his cause.
At press time last night, members were voting for the other positions of on the executive, including first vice-president, second vice-president, secretary and treasurer.
"If people from the other slate are victorious, I am willing to work with them as this is what the people wanted," said Blake.
Grace Jackson said she respected the vote of the delegates.
"Most definitely I am disappointed with the result. I did my work but the delegates have spoken and I have to respect that. I am willing to continue serving in any area in the sport because this is my passion," she said.