Sun | Jan 16, 2022

Central Champs setback brings disappointment

Published:Thursday | March 25, 2021 | 12:09 AMRaymond Graham/Gleaner Writer

High-school teams from central Jamaica have dominated the girls’ section of the ISSA/GraceKennedy Boys and Girls’ Athletics Championships over the years, with Vere Technical, Holmwood Technical, Edwin Allen, St Jago and Manchester High schools winning multiple titles.

With Hydel developing into a powehouse in the region, this year’s Central Athletics Championships was expected to be one of the most competitive instalment of the regional event, which was slated to get under way yesterday at the G.C. Foster College of Physical Education and Sports.

As one of four regional meets and a qualifier for Champs, the heavyweights were all expected to send out their best athletes to Central Champs, but the meet was called off two days before its scheduled start after organisers failed to secure the necessary approvals from the Government in light of the COVID-19-forced restrictions on sporting events.

Head coach of defending champions Edwin Allen High, Michael Dyke, was clearly disappointed with the situation.


“When I got the news I was very disappointed, but not surprised, due to a spike in COVID cases. It has seriously affected the girls’ mentally as they were looking forward to competing at Central Championships. But I spoke with them about the seriousness of the pandemic and we are still cautiously preparing, because I am very optimistic that Champs will be held, as I think the vaccine will help to slow down the spread,” said Dyke, who stated that there could be a possible refocus on global meets like the World Under-20 Championships and the Olympic Games.

Keilando Goburn, head coach at St Jago High School, admitted that it was difficult for him to share the news with his team.

“I was very deflated. The most difficult part was how to relay the news to the girls,” said Goburn. “I explained to them that it was no fault of theirs, as safety was paramount to all.”

Meanwhile, Holmwood Technical’s Dave Anderson added that his girls were mentally prepared to compete at the championships, but he was mindful of the need for the Government’s position.

“We were very disappointed with the last-minute decisión of calling off the meet because the athletes were mentally ready and focussed on the meet, but safety for all is more important and they do understand this,” Anderson said.

All coaches have expressed confidence that the Central Athletics Championships will be still be held before Champs.