Protect us - Gibson McCook Relays organiser calls for calendar shuffle
One of the members of the Organising Committee for the recently staged Gibson McCook Relays, Winston Ulett, is imploring the Jamaica Athletics Administrative Association (JAAA) to revisit the local calendar and ensure there is enough time between major meets.
Ulett made particular reference to the Digicel Grand Prix, which sandwiched the Gibson McCook Relays with four meets in the past two weeks, with the finale set for next Saturday.
"I think the JAAA should look at the calendar and ensure that the Digicel Grand Prix is not close to Gibson (McCook Relays)," said Ulett, who pointed out that the event was still a hugely important fixture on the local calendar.
His comment comes after Calabar High School withdrew from the 42-year-old relay carnival, which took place at the National Stadium last Saturday, due to complaints of fatigue from some of their athletes, who had competed at several meets in the past few weeks, including the Corporate Area Championships, the second leg of the cash-rich Digicel Grand Prix series.
"Other than Boys Champs (ISSA/GraceKennedy Boys and Girls' Championships), we are still the top track meet, because each year, we assess our situation and try to improve," Ulett said. "I know that the Digicel (Grand Prix) meet is quite attractive because of the cash award, but people must not forget that Gibson (McCook) Relays is an IAAF-approved meet. You can qualify for the World Championship by running at Gibson Relays."
Meanwhile, at least two coaches, despite underlining their regard for the Gibson McCook Relays, noted that they fully understood Calabar's decision to skip the meet.
"It was a short turnaround from Central Champs, and so some of the athletes could be a little bit fatigued," said Michael Dyke, head coach of Edwin Allen High School.
Dyke's point was echoed by coach of St Elizabeth Technical High School, Reynaldo Walcott.
"The back-to-back for the people who were at West Champs was not good, and then it was chilly on the day and the marshalling was awful because they kept sending out the athletes 30 minutes for the race."
However, Dyke agreed that the event is still important as it gives them a chance to assess their relay teams heading into ISSA/GraceKennedy Boys and Girls' Athletics Championships.
"It is a meet that would give you that last assessment of your relay teams going into Champs, because we don't have any more relay meets as such. It helps you to look at what you need to work on going into the championships," Dyke noted.