President of the Jamaica Athletics Administrative Association (JAAA), Dr Warren Blake, says he does not support calls made by one of the sport’s most powerful bodies to reset all world record marks amidst the ongoing doping crisis affecting international track and field.Chairman of UK Athletics, Ed Warner, recently announced a list of suggestions his organisation believes will return credibility to a sport that has been reeling after a doping crisis, which has seen Russia banned after alleged ‘state-sponsored doping’ and former IAAF president Lamine Diack facing criminal investigations, after he was accused of taking a bribe to protect drug cheats.However, Blake was quite clear in his opposition of the proposals, which would of course see the five IAAF world records held by Jamaica removed from the books.Usain Bolt currently holds world record marks in the men’s 100m and 200m, with Jamaica also responsible for the best ever men’s 4x100m and 4x200m times in history. Merlene Ottey also has the best mark in the women’s indoor 200m.”I don’t think that this is a viable or fair suggestion because it would penalise athletes, who have legitimately worked hard and excelled, athletes who have never been under any cloud of suspicion or anything like that, and we in Jamaica, we have a few records that would go as well,” Blake responded when asked for his views on UK Athletics’ suggestion to reset the clock.”I know over time people have wondered about certain records, but I have always been of the position that if nothing has ever been proven against the people in question, no matter what the suspicions are, you can’t do anything about that. We have to accept those records,” Blake added.BOLT’S DETRACTORS”Everybody loves to target Flo-Jo’s (Florence Griffith Joyner) record (10.49 seconds in the women’s 100m) more than any other, but let us say down the years and we look at our own Usain Bolt, his record is similarly way ahead of the competition, granted that he has always been running fast from he was a little kid, but there are doubters in the world that seem to think that Jamaica has some magic potion giving to Bolt, so what do we say to those people?” Blake reasoned.The JAAA president, who himself has had to deal with public scrutiny and failed drugs tests by high-profile Jamaican athletes, underlined his belief that the sport will move forward, while showing his support of IAAF president Seb Coe’s response.”I have looked at the five points outlined by our president and I think there is a lot of merit in those plans,” said Blake.Among other things, Coe has promised to double the anti-doping budget to US$8 million, appoint a new chief executive by the middle of the year, establish a separate integrity unit for athletics before August’s Olympics in Rio and double the current international testing pool of athletes to 1,000.See related story on B4.
A first reunion with Real Madrid in the Champions League final is Gonzalo Higuain’s chance to get his own back at his former club for never truly appreciating him and an opportunity to shake his reputation as a big game bottler.The conbative Argentine striker became the most expensive player ever in Italian football when he swapped Napoli for Juventus last year in an acrimonious transfer which left fans who felt betrayed burning replicas of his number nine shirt.His 90 million euro ($100.56 million) price tag, meanwhile, had many observers scratching their heads at the thought of Juve paying so much for a player renowned for failing to put away the simplest of chances when it mattered most.When a wayward header from Germany’s Toni Kroos bounced into Higuain’s path in the 2014 World Cup final, the Argentina striker raked the ball wide of the far post.In the 2015 Copa America final against Chile Higuain slid a rolling pass from Ezequiel Lavezzi into the side netting and later ballooned his penalty over the bar in the shootout.History repeated itself in the 2016 Copa America Centenario final with Chile when Higuain missed a third chance in a third consecutive final, collecting a third straight runners-up medal with his country.Those misses would have chimed with Madrid supporters who remembered his crucial wasted chances in Champions League eliminations by Olympique Lyonnais and Borussia Dortmund.Set against those mishaps were his 89th minute strike to snatch a 4-3 win from 3-1 down over Espanyol in his first season which sparked Madrid’s unlikely title win in 2007 and three prolific campaigns in which he scored more than 20 league goals.advertisementCriticism was never far away when things did not go his way, however, and that weighed heavily on a sensitive, unpredictable character like Higuain, who quit the club in 2013 for Napoli, later admitting he cried when he left Madrid.’Pipita’ had a slow start to life at Juventus after his bitter departure from Napoli but enjoyed plenty of support from the ‘Old Lady’s’ fans and hit form around the turn of the year, scoring seven times in five league games on his way to 24 goals which fired Juve to a sixth straight Serie A title.”Juve is similar to Real Madrid, they prepare you to win,” Higuain said in February. “But the supporters are not as demanding as Madrid. It’s not in their culture to boo their own players.”He showed his gratitude by celebrating his thumping strike at Monaco in the Champions League semi-final first leg by leaping over the advertising boards and crossing the running track behind the goal to salute the travelling fans.His second-half goal doubled his previous count of two in 24 Champions League knockout games, putting Juventus on their way to Cardiff and ending his hoodoo in Europe’s top competition.Now Higuain has the chance to put right his dismal record in finals, against the club that put him on the map but never called him one of their own.($1 = 0.8950 euros)