Thu | Oct 18, 2018

Crocs mindful of Mexico City altitude ahead of RANS

Published:Saturday | November 4, 2017 | 12:00 AMachid Parchment

Jamaica Rugby Football Union (JRFU) chairman Jerry Benzwick said that the national teams, the Crocs and Lady Crocs are mindful of the challenges they may face with the altitude on their trip to the Rugby Americas North Sevens (RANS) tournament being staged in Mexico City, Mexico later this month.

Mexico City, the nation's capital, is almost 7,400 feet above sea level and is considered by athletes in various sporting disciplines as a very difficult place to travel to and to compete because of its coldness and thin air, which makes breathing difficult.

Benzwick said that this is why the JRFU wants to have the teams arriving in Mexico by November 20, to prepare for the two-day tournament which starts on November 25.

"We are aware of how difficult it is for athletes to compete in that environment because you could be fit as a fiddle but the climactic change is very stressful on the body," he explained.

The competition will be staged at Campo Marte, a military base in the city, and Benzwick said that although the country was affected by three earthquakes two months ago, the tournament will go ahead as planned and with no hitches.

"They (organisers) waited about a week and a half to confirm with Mexico that the natural disasters would not affect the tournament and it didn't, so everything will go ahead as planned. The environment is fine, the field isn't damaged, nothing is damaged and we're on, full speed ahead.

"All the hotels that are in that area are up and running and teams are booking their places. We have found somewhere that we like, but we are hoping that the money can stretch and cover it" Benzwick said.

He continued that although more support is needed by Corporate Jamaica to sponsor more players for the trip, he is thankful for the aid the JRFU has received from the Jamaica Olympic Association (JOA).

"The JOA has recognised the importance of the tournament in Mexico," he said. "They have been able to squeeze us a little sponsorship, aiding us with some of the tickets for our players but we're still trying to raise more funds for some more tickets. We'd love to get a real sizable sponsorship so we can be comfortable for food and accommodation, but by the grace of God, we're going to go either way. We can't turn back now."

RANS is a qualifier for the Commonwealth and CAC (Central American and Caribbean) Games, as well as the World Cup.