Fri | Aug 18, 2017

Calabar still awaiting answer from ISSA

Published:Friday | March 17, 2017 | 3:00 AMMarc Stamp
Calabar High's Vice-Principal Calvin Rowe (left) and Head Boy Rajay Maragh returning the Mortimer Geddes Trophy to the offices of the Inter-secondary Schools Sports Association yesterday.

Calabar High School is still awaiting an explanation from the Inter-secondary Schools Sports Association (ISSA) on the reasons for allowing Aryamana Rodgers of Uganda to represent Kingston College at the Boys and Girls' Athletics Championships set for March 28 to April 1 at the National Stadium.

Representatives of the school handed over the Mortimer Geddes Trophy it won last year to ISSA's competitions officer George Forbes at the association's head office yesterday and repeated a call for a full explanation from the governing body of high-school sports.

Rodgers, a Ugandan middle-distance runner, is regarded as one of the favourites for the boys' Class Two 1500m and 800m events at Champs.

Rodgers joined KC in October last year, missing ISSA's registration deadline of September 30, 2016. ISSA has cleared him to compete, citing what is being described as "extenuating circumstances".

Calabar's vice-principal, Calvin Rowe, who handed over the trophy, dismissed rumours that the earlier-than-usual handing over was a mark of protest.

"We are not making a protest. We are returning the trophy. This is no protest; we saved ISSA the trip of coming to Calabar for the trophy," Rowe said.

After the trophy was handed over, Rowe read an official statement from the school on the matter.

'ONGOING DISCOMFORT'

"Following on our press release of March 14, 2017, in which we stated our intention to employ various modes of expression of our ongoing discomfort with the still unexplained ISSA decision to admit the ineligible Ugandan athlete (Rodgers), we are using this occasion, the public return of the trophy which we won at the 2016 Boys and Girls' Athletics Championships, to make the following comments:

"We call upon ISSA to pay us the courtesy of a response to, or at least an acknowledgement of, our letter requesting a copy of their written ruling or statement on the matter in question.

"We again urge ISSA to reflect on the ways in which their decision may be interpreted as jeopardising the level playing field to which all participants in this championship are entitled, thereby calling into question the very integrity of the organisation of this proud showpiece of Jamaican junior athletics.

"We believe that the issues of governance which have been highlighted as a result of the juxtaposition of this particular ISSA decision against former decisions to which we are privy, are serious issues which, if left unacknowledged and unaddressed, have implications for our participation in activities surrounding this year's staging of the Boys and Girls' Championships as well as other ISSA-organised competitions going forward.

"As a consequence, we regret that Calabar High School will not be in attendance at the launch of the Boys and Girls Championships scheduled for later today,' the statement concluded.