Mon | Sep 21, 2020

Relay rule change coming to Champs

Published:Tuesday | October 15, 2019 | 12:19 AMRaymond Graham/Gleaner Writer

ISSA president Keith Wellington says the ISSA/GraceKennedy Boys and Girls’ Athletic Championships (Champs) will be adapting a new relay rule next year.

IAAF’s Rule 170.10, which regards relay team substitutions, was amended in January this year to allow four additional athletes to be used once a relay team has started the competition. This was a rule utilised by the United States for its women’s 4x400m relay team, which substituted all four members before going on to claim gold in the final.

“Normally, we go by rules laid down at the international level, which is followed by our local body, the Jamaica Athletics Administrative Association (JAAA), and ISSA is bound by this,” Wellington said.

He said that all schools would be informed about the new rule at a technical meeting of all coaches next month.

Michael Dyke, head coach of many-time Girls’ Champions Edwin Allen High School, is in agreement with the change.

“I think it is good, especially for juniors, because it will reduce work load and give more opportunity and it will also help team with injury concerns,” he said. “It will help to make teams more competitive. Changes will enhance better performance because coaches will be able to inject fresher athletes, as it will allow coaches to strategise better with a lot more flexibility.”

St Jago High School girls’ team head coach, Keilando Goburn, says the new change will give coaches more leverage.

“I like the new rule as it will give coaches more leverage in terms of utilising athletes,” he said. “At Champs, athletes have heavy workloads doing individual events and relays, including preliminary rounds and finals.”

Goburn believes that there are pros and cons to the rule, however.

“This will give big teams with much more depth a big advantage over smaller teams with little depth, as bigger teams will be able to utilise this more to their advantage,” he said.