Former world champion: Ato Boldon

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Boldon backs CASJA

Sports journalists’ association to be launched today

By Kwame Laurence in Nassau

Former world champion Ato Boldon is backing the newly-formed Caribbean Sports Journalists’ Association (CASJA).

In an interview with the Sunday Express at the inaugural IAAF World Relays here in Nassau, Bahamas, yesterday, Boldon said CASJA is “absolutely necessary”.

“As the Caribbean continues to emerge as a world power, not just in track and field but in other sports that we’ve not traditionally been powerhouses in, the media becomes an important part. The media, of course, has to tell the story of the athletes and what’s going on so all credit to those who have decided to make this a priority. I support it wholeheartedly.”

Grenada’s Michael Bascombe, Jamaicans Andre Lowe, Kayon Raynor and Anthony Foster, Bahamian Brent Stubbs and Trinidad and Tobago’s Kwame Laurence have been discussing the importance of unity among regional sports journalists. The group of six was recently formalised, and many other journalists from around the Caribbean have expressed a desire to come on board.

In addition to Boldon, CASJA has been endorsed by former T&T senior team goalkeeper Shaka Hislop and National Association of Athletics Administrations (NAAA) president Ephraim Serrette.

Regional endorsements have come from Bahamas’ 2004 Olympic 400 metres champion Tonique Williams, Bahamian quartermiler Chris Brown, Concacaf president Jeffrey Webb, North America, Central America and Caribbean Athletic Association (NACAC) president Victor Lopez, former NACAC boss Amadeo Francis, Caribbean Association of National Olympic Committees (CANOC) chairman Steve Stoute, and Jamaican communications specialist Carole Beckford.

Internationally, CASJA has the support of IAAF deputy director of communications Anna Legnani.

CASJA will be officially launched this afternoon at a World Relays media reception, at the Compass Point Beach Resort in Nassau. 

Veteran Bahamian sports journalists Godfrey Brown and Kirk Smith will be honoured by CASJA at the reception. IAAF president Lamine Diack is expected to make presentations to the duo.

Boldon, the lead track and field analyst with the NBC Sports Group, is keen to be an active member of CASJA.

“I would be honoured to fulfill any role in CASJA, if asked.

“The first recommendation I would give is to give me an application form so I can join. But secondarily to that, I think we should have no expectation other than what is provided for any other region in the world. The Caribbean journalists go all over the world and see how the journalists are handled and treated, and we should hold the Caribbean organisers of sporting events to the very same standards.

“We know that recently,” the retired T&T track star continued, “we had some serious challenges at the Carifta Games. In 2014, as we move forward, that should simply never happen.”

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