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IPL’s juggling act - Balancing Champs with Reggae Boyz match in mind

Published:Wednesday | March 16, 2016 | 3:00 AMAndre Lowe
Casheena Chen (right) from Wolmer's Girls and Daszay Freeman from Manchester High battle during the hurdles in heat three of the Class Two 100 metres hurdles on yesterday's first day if the ISSA/GraceKennedy Boys and Girls' Athletic Championships at the National Stadium yesterday. Freeman won in 13.92 seconds, while Chen placed second in 13.94.

With just a few days separating the ISSA/GraceKennedy Boys and Girls' Athletic Champion-ships now under way at the National Stadium and Jamaica's crucial FIFA World Cup qualifier against Costa Rica at the same venue, Independence Park Limited (IPL) has taken several steps to ensure that the wear on the surface is limited.

IPL General Manager Major Desmon Brown told The Gleaner that every effort is being made to limit the effect that the five-day high school track and field championships will have on the infield area, with the hope of ensuring the surface remains in pristine condition with the Reggae Boyz March 25 qualifier in mind.

"What we hope to do, and we will try as best as possible, is to limit any damage to the infield area during Champs of course," said Brown. "At the same time, we don't want to kill the spirit for Champs, but it's also important to do our best to preserve the surface as best as we can ahead of the World Cup qualifier."

Adjustments include the repositioning of electronic advertising boards to the cycle track in front of the bleachers section - from their customary spot at the edge of the infield area - and the addition of protective mats in the shot put vector.

"Basically, events like the javelin and discus don't do too much damage to the surface itself, but for shot put, we have put in the protective turf because that can really create some problems," Brown added.

Officials will also be limiting movement across the infield and have erected protective bordering to help where this is concerned.

Brown did, however, admit that they may find it difficult to enforce this restriction at the end of the championships when the winners are announced.

"If it's a one-off thing like what we see from time to time at the end of Champs when winners are announced, it wont have too much of an effect," he reasoned.

The ISSA/GraceKennedy Boys and Girls' Athletics Championships will come to an end on Saturday night

Calabar High and Edwin Allen High are defending their respective boys' and girls' titles.

Meanwhile, the Reggae Boyz will be looking to improve on their three points secured to date in their CONCACAF semi-final round World Cup qualifying campaign against Costa Rica on March 25.