Tue | May 11, 2021

No weekend worries for JAAA

Published:Thursday | April 15, 2021 | 12:16 AMRobert Bailey/Gleaner Writer
Jevaughn Minzie (left) of Titans Track Club competes in the 200m event at the Jamaica Athletics Administrative Association Qualification Trials 3.6 held at The National Stadium on March 13, 2021.
Jevaughn Minzie (left) of Titans Track Club competes in the 200m event at the Jamaica Athletics Administrative Association Qualification Trials 3.6 held at The National Stadium on March 13, 2021.
Forbes
Forbes
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Despite the Government’s extension of the weekend curfew measures, Ian Forbes, first vice president of the Jamaica Athletics Administrative Association (JAAA), said this will not affect the body’s ability to stage meets locally, once they received...

Despite the Government’s extension of the weekend curfew measures, Ian Forbes, first vice president of the Jamaica Athletics Administrative Association (JAAA), said this will not affect the body’s ability to stage meets locally, once they received the required permission to restart competitive athletics in the island.

The new curfew hours will now run from 4:00 p.m. on Saturdays to 5:00 a.m on Sundays and resume at 2:00 p.m. on Sundays until 5:00 a.m. on Mondays. It will be in effect for the next three weekends.

Forbes told The Gleaner that while no timetable has been finalised for the approval of permits to host track meets, the JAAA remains in dialogue with the ministries of Health and Wellness, and Sport, and remains confident that they can continue to execute meets in a safe manner despite the COVID-19 concerns.

“Track and field can still go ahead in this environment by observing protocols and looking at the start and end time of trials on specific days,” said Forbes. “We just have to work smartly and ensure that we work while observing the protocols. It is still possible to continue, but it might be a little restricted. However, there are ways of doing it.”

“The numbers (COVID-19) are reducing and in terms of time, we would not require as much time as we do under normal circumstances and, of course, we have more venues, so the numbers (of competing athletes) can be spread out (at different venues). They (meets) can proceed with the protocols being observed without breaching any regulations,” Forbes stated.

There have been no track and field meets in Jamaica since the middle of March due to a surge in positive COVID-19 cases across the island. A number of regional meets had to be postponed, while organisers of the ISSA/GraceKennedy Boys and Girls’ Athletics Championships continue to engage authorities to confirm the event.

POSITIVE OUTLOOKS

News surfaced yesterday that there was a positive outlook for the staging of these events in the coming weeks.

Meanwhile, Forbes highlighted that the JAAA has successfully staged a number of track and field meets during pandemic and once they are granted their relevant approvals, then it expects this to continue in the future.

“We are waiting for responses to our submissions for approval, and so we haven’t gotten a timeline as to when this approval will be granted, but we are hoping that we will get one shortly because time is of the essence,” Forbes said.

“There is a bit of frustration somewhat because you submit and you wait in anticipation and if it doesn’t come, of course it can be deemed frustrating, as we have been anxious to get some feedback, but we understand that we are operating in a very serious pandemic,” Forbes said.

robert.bailey@gleanerjm.com