Mon | Mar 1, 2021

Running out of time - Forbes calls for timely response to event requests as window tightens for junior season

Published:Sunday | February 14, 2021 | 12:21 AMDaniel Wheeler - Staff Reporter
Forbes
Forbes

With an announcement of the new date for the Inter-Secondary Schools Sports Association (ISSA)/GraceKennedy Boys and Girls’ Athletics Championships (Champs) imminent, Jamaica Athletics Administrative Association (JAAA) first vice- president, Ian...

With an announcement of the new date for the Inter-Secondary Schools Sports Association (ISSA)/GraceKennedy Boys and Girls’ Athletics Championships (Champs) imminent, Jamaica Athletics Administrative Association (JAAA) first vice- president, Ian Forbes, is calling for a timely response to their request for meet events, to salvage what is left of the local junior track and field season.

Eleven meets that were scheduled to take place this weekend had to be postponed, as there was still no confirmation of approval from the authorities up to Tuesday. The Government recently gave authorisation for events to resume on a case-by-case basis and has encouraged all sporting associations to reapply for approval.

However, with more than 20 events on the 2021 calendar now called off and uncertainty looming over the rest of the junior schedule, Forbes says that they need sufficient notice as to the status of their events.

AWAITING APPROVAL

“We are awaiting approval because it is difficult to plan in isolation and in a state of uncertainty. It’s difficult to spend valuable resources planning and not knowing with certainty that we’ll get approval,” Forbes told The Sunday Gleaner.

“So, all we ask is for adequate time to be given, adequate notice that, yes, your meet is approved or no, the meet is not approved, to save valuable resources. The documentation has been submitted so we are in waiting, but I just hasten to say that we need to move with some amount of speed because the season is going by quickly,” added Forbes.

The organisers of Champs are expected to announce a new date for the event shortly, after ISSA President Keith Wellington confirmed that it will no longer be held in March as originally planned.

Speaking on Thursday’s TVJ Sports Virtual Town Hall addressing the return of sports, Wellington said that there could be a change to the alternative May date.

“What I can say now [is that] we have an alternative date of May 4-8. [But] we may be looking at the week before that date because that date is actually a World Athletics/JAAA meet date,” Wellington said.

It would mean that Champs could be held in the final week of April. If so, it would only give athletes an 11-week window to compete and meet the necessary qualifying standard for Champs.

Forbes says the request for development events cover an eight-week period with the inclusion of COVID-19 protocols for those events. The measures are part of a provision to allow the JAAA sole responsibility for organising meets, as part of their safety proposals.

Although still optimistic that the junior season can take place, Forbes acknowledges that a swift response to the request is required, as the window to host events is slowing closing.

“As it is, we cannot say with certainty when we will kick off. We are hopeful [but] the window is limited, so we need to kick off very soon in order to facilitate our athletes competing and striving to obtain these qualifying marks,” Forbes said. “So, we need to move quickly.”

daniel.wheeler@gleanerjm.com