Go Athletics!

I want to venture, if I may, into the realm of the development of our sport. In today’s world, sport is big business. Our core product is the athlete. The athlete is now a professional. He/she lives from the sport. Today’s professional athlete has a coach, and an agent or manager who are also professionals. There is no voluntarism there. Not any more.
Each year there are several meets that offer prize money. These Meets are professionally managed. Increasingly the IAAF’s World Championships have become major opportunities for athletes to increase their annual income as they showcase the benefits of months/years of intense training.
The point being made here is that increasingly the world of athletics is becoming like the NBA, Baseball or Hockey in the USA and Football in Europe. It is about professionalism.
If we are honest with ourselves we will admit that the sport of athletics has been late in becoming professional. While the rest of the international sport community moved ahead we languished behind refusing to allow the inevitable process to take its course. In the end we had athletes and their agents negotiating for years to receive monies for appearance fees and competition literally under the table.
Today however, we have seen significant changes in our sport. It is all out in the open. We are an increasingly professional sport. The problematic confronting us who are involved in athletics in the Caribbean therefore is that we continue to administer our national athletics federations essentially as volunteer institutions operated by amateurs yet we are expected to compete favourably in the international community where every aspect of the sport has gone professional.

The World Athletics Plan
Where then do we go in this fast paced world?
Now that we have come to the realisation that the world around us has changed the IAAF’s World Athletics Plan speaks to that. The World Athletics Plan was launched at the IAAF Congress in Paris, France, in 2003.