Wed | Dec 1, 2021

ISSA still awaiting Government correspondence on Champs

Published:Saturday | March 27, 2021 | 12:06 AMDaniel Wheeler/Staff Reporter -
St Jago High School's Alex Taylor (left) beats Charlemont High School's Shacquille Gordon in a Class Three Boys 800m heat at the ISSA/GraceKennedy Boys and Girls' Athletics Championships at the National Stadium on Tuesday, March 26, 2019.
St Jago High School's Alex Taylor (left) beats Charlemont High School's Shacquille Gordon in a Class Three Boys 800m heat at the ISSA/GraceKennedy Boys and Girls' Athletics Championships at the National Stadium on Tuesday, March 26, 2019.
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President Keith Wellington says that ISSA is awaiting guidance from the Government before addressing any potential impact the new COVID-19 restrictions could have on the staging of the ISSA/GraceKennedy Boys and Girls' Athletics Championships (...

President Keith Wellington says that ISSA is awaiting guidance from the Government before addressing any potential impact the new COVID-19 restrictions could have on the staging of the ISSA/GraceKennedy Boys and Girls' Athletics Championships (Champs).

Prime Minister Andrew Holness announced tighter restrictions on Sunday in light of a rise in COVID-19 cases. These restrictions include a revised weekend curfew starting today at noon and lasting until 5 a.m. on Monday. The new curfew hours, which will last for the next three weekends, could affect the completion of the junior athletics season which also includes Champs which is scheduled for the last week in April.

Wellington confirmed that a proposal has been sent to the local authorities for approval but in light of the new restrictions, ISSA is awaiting feedback whether changes are required but would not comment specifically on how the new measures would affect Champs or events leading up to Champs.

"I would want to know that. That's why I can't speak on it," Wellington told The Gleaner. "We are working against the information that will allow us to speak on the matter, but right now we cannot speak on the matter until we have been fully appraised by the Government."

Champs was postponed from its original March date because of the surge in COVID-19 cases.

Sports was given the approval to resume on a case-by-case basis on February 5 but athletics resumed on February 27 as they awaited approval of COVID-19 protocols to compete. Meets took place at various locations for the past four Saturdays but now faces complications because of the new measures.

While Local Government Minister Desmond McKenzie said that he is pleased with the Jamaica Athletics Administrative Association's (JAAA) COVID-19 protocol enforcement of the meets, and that they could continue as long as the standard is maintained, JAAA First Vice President Ian Forbes says that they are awaiting further correspondence on potential meets during the three-weekend period. Forbes said that he is optimistic that they would be able to host events to facilitate athletes getting the required times for Champs and other competitions.

"The Qualification Trials are absolutely necessary as a precursor to Champs," Forbes said. "We are hopeful that we are able to have some more Qualification Trials to facilitate those athletes' qualification for Champs and to attain marks which can help them to secure scholarships for both local and overseas institutions."

The Eastern Athletics Championships, as well as the Central Championships scheduled for this week, had to be called off as both events did not secure the necessary approvals.

daniel.wheeler@gleanerjm.com