Sat | May 30, 2020

Champs 2020 cancelled

Published:Wednesday | March 11, 2020 | 3:33 PM
Akeem Weir of Kingston College celebrates in front of the 'Purple' fans  after winning the Class Three boys 400 metres final on the final day of the ISSA/GraceKennedy Boys and Girls’ Athletics Championships at the National Stadium last year.
Akeem Weir of Kingston College celebrates in front of the 'Purple' fans after winning the Class Three boys 400 metres final on the final day of the ISSA/GraceKennedy Boys and Girls’ Athletics Championships at the National Stadium last year.

The 2020 Inter-Secondary Schools Sports Association (ISSA)/GraceKennedy Boys and Girls' Athletics Championships has been cancelled, following the confirmation of an imported case of the coronavirus in Jamaica.

The decision was taken following a meeting on Wednesday involving officials from ISSA, the Ministry of Health and Wellness and title sponsors GraceKennedy.

Chairman of the Organising Committee, Richard Thompson, confirmed the development.

"ISSA had a meeting with its executive to discuss concerns regarding the championships, especially with the new information that we have just confirmed the first case of the virus in Jamaica," Thompson said. The members of the committee were principals of schools and they expressed concerns about the safety of athletes, spectators, and the country generally."

"Our position was that we were prepared to do whatever was necessary to protect all concerned," he added.

The internal ISSA meeting was followed by a sit-down, which also involved the Minister of Health and Wellness Dr Christopher Tufton, Sports Minister Olivia Grange and an official from the Education Ministry, where the position was confirmed.

"They too shared the concern and the position and made the recommendation that this year’s championships be cancelled, especially given the fact that a lot of persons would be travelling from the diaspora and many of those countries have widespread cases of COVID-19," Thompson stated.

This decision effectively brings the youth/junior track and field season to an end, with schools already being banned by the Government from attending the Penn Relays next month and the Jamaica Athletics Administrative Association expected to pull out of the Carifta Games, which takes place in Bermuda on the Easter weekend.

There are also lingering doubts around the staging of the World Athletics Under 20 Championships, which is set for Nairobi, Kenya in July.

More to follow.

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