Small clears the air
The absence of Calabar High School represent-atives was conspicuous at yesterday's launch of the 2017 Inter-secondary Schools Sports Association (ISSA)/Grace-Kennedy Boys and Girls' Athletics Championships at the Spanish Court Hotel in New Kingston as the defending champions' protest over the school sports governing body's decision to allow Ugandan 800 metres runner Aryamanya Rodgers to compete for Kingston College at this year's event threatened to overshadow all.
ISSA President Dr Walton Small moved quickly to address questions over ISSA's decision despite rules stating that athletes must be registered for their respective schools by September 30 and have at least 80 per cent attendance record to compete at Champs.
Small explained that ISSA had received all documentation from Kingston College as early as July 18, 2016 and the athlete was scheduled to arrive in Kingston on August 24, 2016.
However, he said, adding that ISSA had been party to the paper trail, when Rodgers arrived at the airport in the Ugandan capital at Kampala, he was refused boarding for Germany as it was determined he needed a German visa to travel. This was communicated to KC authorities and Jamaican embassy officials who moved to address the issue.
Rodgers' airline ticket was cancelled and a second ticket purchased for him to arrive in Kingston on September 24, 2016, via Kenya. However, he was once again refused boarding.
Eventually Rodgers received clearance, and he travelled to Kingston on October 16 and began school at KC on Tuesday, October 18, 2016.
"We waived the attendance and deadline registration because we were convinced that enough effort was made to get the young man to Jamaica," said Small.
The vote by those present was one absentia, one against, and the remaining members voted in favour.
He noted that not all 15 members of the executive were present. Among those absent was Calabar Principal Albert Corcho, whom Dr Small said learnt of ISSA's decision on the day it was made.
"This is a democratic society, and if the committee decides that the young man should participate, then that was the result, and that was sent off to Kingston College."
Meanwhile, Small said that he had received a letter addressed to the "Chairman of ISSA", dated Friday, March 10, on Wednesday (March 15) from Corcho, demanding the results of the case be published in the media within seven days of the decision.
"Mr Corcho is member of the executive committee, and if he wants, he can get not only the letter that was sent to Kingston College, but also the details of the minutes to see the discussion, to see who voted, who abstained, and who voted against," he said.
ISSA had scheduled an emergency meeting yesterday afternoon to decide on that matter and several others.