Sat | Nov 26, 2022

O’Dayne Richards wants to be hands-on chairman

Published:Thursday | November 24, 2022 | 12:11 AMLivingston Scott/Gleaner Writer
O’Dayne Richards, Chairman of the NACAC Athletes’ Commission.
O’Dayne Richards, Chairman of the NACAC Athletes’ Commission.

JAMAICA’S O’DAYNE Richards, who was recently elected chairman of the NACAC Athletes’ Commission, is encouraging local and regional athletes to lodge their complaints with him or their local athlete representatives and he will do his best to have...

JAMAICA’S O’DAYNE Richards, who was recently elected chairman of the NACAC Athletes’ Commission, is encouraging local and regional athletes to lodge their complaints with him or their local athlete representatives and he will do his best to have their concerns addressed.

The shot putter said being an active athlete, he has a personal interest in ensuring that athletes’ rights and interests are protected, which will be his objective while in office.

“My main duty is to ensure the athletes have a voice at all levels, and the level that I have access to is the NACAC level.

“When NACAC is making decisions, I must ensure the athletes are heard and that the rights and interests of the athletes are adhered to and protected when a decision is being made at that (administrative) level,” Richards told The Gleaner.

“I have not yet hung up my competitive shoes, and as an athlete myself, I would like to know that my rights and my interests are protected.

“So because of my own self-interest and the interests of my fellow athletes, most of who are my personal friends, I would love for them to benefit from their rights and see that their interests are protected and represented at all levels. So this is a big deal for me because I have a personal interest in it as well.”

He now wants regional athletes to voice their concerns or interests to him personally or to other athlete commission members or to local athlete representatives appointed by respective national associations.

“If the athletes have any issue at all, we have athletes’ representatives. Fedrick Dacres was appointed by the JAAA as athlete representative. So they can go to him or to myself or anyone on the Athletes’ Commission within the region.

“They can private-message me or send a letter anonymously. They can contact me on Instagram or any other social media account and I will try to ensure that we get their issues resolved. And not just Jamaicans, any athletes in the region,” he continued.

Richards was elevated to the post after serving one year as co-chair of the newly formed commision, however, after a poll he emerged as the new head.

“Last year, NACAC tried to activate an athletes’ commission and I was recommended by another athlete to help out and I agreed to help kickstart the commission.

“Then after the initial set-up, at the NACAC Championships, I was nominated for selection, and the NACAC family thought it wise to select me as the chair.

“In the initial set-up, I was the co-chair. But after they formed the commission and the former chair stepped down, I was selected for the chair,” he revealed.

Although the 2015 World Championship shot put bronze medallist has no intention of staying in the post for too long, his aim is to give regional athletes the best representation possible at the board level.

“I am trying to connect with World Athletics and other athletic bodies outside of World Athletics governance, for example, Athlete 365 (the International Olympic Committee’s digital platform for Olympians and elite athletes) and Pan Am so that we can have a collaborative effort to ensure that the interests of athletes are met.”

“I would love to have done a good job (when tenure ends). I would love to ensure that whatever is within my power to get the voices across I will do it to the best of my ability

“I do not have the desire to hold this position forever, and I would love for my successor in the near or distant future to do even better than I have,” he said.

livingston.scott@gleanerjm.com