Coaches eye challenges for upcoming track meets
Edwin Allen High School head coach Michael Dyke and Calabar High School assistant coach Errol Messiah say that the qualification criteria for the ISSA/GraceKennedy Boys and Girls’ Athletics Championships (Champs) in March are workable, but they foresee challenges for the upcoming developmental season.
The date for Champs has been tentatively set for March 22-27, with a contingency date for May 4-8 also set should the former not be feasible because of the COVID-19 pandemic. Last year’s Champs was cancelled because of the pandemic, which brought an abrupt end to the high school athletics season.
During the recent Jamaica Athletic Administrative Association (JAAA) Calendar of Events conference, committee member Dr Carl Bruce said that the possibility exists that not all local meets, including those leading up to Champs, will be approved, but Dyke says that the uncertainty of the developmental season might bring more demands on competitors to guarantee themselves a qualifying spot.
“The format that is being proposed right now is something that we can work with under the circumstance,” Dyke said. “It probably might force people to try to run a little bit faster than the norm at this time, because we are not sure what might happen.
“You might compete at a meet and maybe the next meet is not approved and all of that. It’s going to be very challenging.”
Dyke says for his programme, five or six events would be good enough for his team to get into the right mindset for Champs, but says that the potential for events to be refused approval could lead to a risk of injuries as they attempt to navigate the season.
Messiah suggested that with some schools being at a disadvantage, meets between schools close to each other would help schools to get as many opportunities as possible to meet the qualifying requirements.
“Having a triangle event (with three schools) can be done,” he said. “Some schools are going to be left behind because of limited resources, especially in the rural areas where schools are far apart. [I think] if the JAAA and ISSA want it to work, they can work out something.”
Should the May contingency date be used, Messiah says that meets should be organised to maintain competition sharpness.
Sprints - Top two from each regional meet and the next best 24
Hurdles - Top 24 islandwide
Distance events - Top 16 islandwide
Field events - Top 12 across all development and regional championships
Relays - From development meets, not only regional championships
- No qualifying standard for medley relays
Decathlon - All entries accepted