Fri | Aug 18, 2017

Coaches disappointed with Central Champs schedule changes

Published:Tuesday | February 16, 2016 | 2:00 AMAndre Lowe
Holness
File McCarthy
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Coaches in the central region are expressing disappointment with an event schedule change - prompted by sponsors Digicel - which now has all but two track finals being contested on the second day of competition at the Central Championships.

The two-day meet, which forms part of the Digicel Grand Prix Athletics Championship, gets under way today at the G.C. Foster College of Physical Education and Sport.

Previously, several of the finals, including the 100m and 1500m events, were contested on the opening day of competition. However, chief organiser Chester McCarthy explained that every consideration was given to athlete safety and that there is ample time and facilities to aid in their recovery between events.

"Some coaches may decide to either switch around athletes or pull athletes because of the changes," McCarthy admitted.

"What we used to do in the past is to have a number of finals done on Day One, but now, you will find that the 100m and 200m, for instance will take place on the same day. The major reason is that they are both (Digicel) Grand Prix events and the sponsors wanted it to be that way, so they wanted all the Grand Prix events to be focused in terms of finals for the last day for media purposes, and so on," McCarthy explained before pointing to the systems put in place.

"Even though Boys and Girls' Champs is over five days, you will find that a lot of athletes will compete in three finals on the final day at Champs. Some of these events will be a one run - a straight final. Some coaches are overly concerned, but I don't think it is as bad as some people make it out to be," he added.

"Also, remember that the sponsors have put in place things like ice therapy, which will help in the recovery there is an ice bath set up for all athletes. This was never there in the past, so a lot of consideration has been given."

SHOULD NOT HAVEBEEN ALLOWED

Still, for experienced Manchester High coach Jerry Holness, these changes should never have been allowed.

"What about the athletes who double and possibly compete in relays, are we going to have them do all of those events on one day?

"People cannot allow sponsors to dictate to them," said Holness. "As organisers, you have to stand up to the sponsors and meet them somewhere along the way. You can't just because they are going to give you a little money to run the meet you are going to accept anything without thinking about the athletes. I think it's crazy!

"We will probably end up using someone who won't go to Champs to run some of the events, too," said Holness.

Michael Dyke, coach of defending Central and Girls' champions Edwin Allen High, was also critical.

"At this point, there is nothing that we can do. The coaches will just have to make the adjustment depending on the value they put on the meet," said Dyke. "It may help to deplete the quality to the extent that you might not see some of the persons you would want to see competing, or they may just end up doing just one event.

"I mean, running a sprint double on the same day, for instance, is not a good idea, and there are three sprints - 100m, 200m, and 400m - plus the relays. Management is going to be very important, so it's up to the individual coaches and teams to manage their athletes to the best of their ability," added Dyke.