Champs changes will help - Forbes
Proposed changes to the structure of the Inter-secondary Schools Sports Association (ISSA)/GraceKennedy Boys and Girls Championships will aid in the development of Jamaica's track and field and safeguard student athletes. That's the view of George Forbes, ISSA's competitions director.
Using a worst-case scenario to illustrate the need to regulate the number of events one athlete can do at the championships, Forbes asked: "If a boy were to do four events and on the final day of Champs he's doing the 4x400m and something were to happen to him, who do they think they're going to blame?"
Asked if ISSA felt a duty of care in the aftermath of the death of footballer Dominic James and basketballer Saymar Ramsey in the Christmas term, he replied, "It's true. We were mindful, and to put the thing in perspective, we have contemplated these changes from just after Champs."
According to Forbes, the changes presently incorporate feedback from high school track and field coaches.
"As a matter of fact, almost every single thing that we proposed, we looked at their counter proposals and we made some adjustments."
The proposed changes include the following:
- Class 2 boys will now compete separately in the 400m hurdles.
- Field event athletes will now have the option of doing three events in this area or two field events and two relays.
- Track athletes will be restricted to two individual events only, and in addition, they can do two relays.
- Females will now only be allowed to contest the heptathlon and one other event.
- Class 3 girls will no longer be able to compete in steeplechase and 3000m, which is now restricted to classes 1 and 2 only.
- Classes 1 and 2 boys will be allowed to compete in steeplechase and 5000m.
One such adjustment relaxed a proposal that athletes contest just one relay.
As things stand now, two individual running events and two relays is acceptable.
However, the changes have largely been opposed by the Jamaica Track and Field Coaches Association.
"The only thing we have not changed and we've not tweaked is the 400m hurdles for Class 1 and Class 2 and we're convinced that it is the right way to go."
He said a similar change made to the boys' triple jump after the 2012 edition of Champs has increased the number of participants.
"When we did the triple jump, it was triple jump open, just Class 1 boys. Basically, we changed it," he asserted. "We have more people doing triple jump," he declared.