Tue | Jun 15, 2021

Throwing in the towel

Coaches struggling to convince demotivated athletes Champs 2021 still a possibility

Published:Friday | April 16, 2021 | 12:19 AMRobert Bailey/Gleaner Writer
HAWES
HAWES
BENNETT
BENNETT
Hydel High School’s Shianne DaCosta (left) wins the Class One 800m race at the Tyser Mills Classic at Calabar High School on Saturday, December 12, 2020.
Hydel High School’s Shianne DaCosta (left) wins the Class One 800m race at the Tyser Mills Classic at Calabar High School on Saturday, December 12, 2020.
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Two of the nation’s top high school coaches said their athletes are frustrated and demotivated by the inactivity in the junior athletics season because of the COVID-19 pandemic. There has been no track and field in Jamaica since March because of a...

Two of the nation’s top high school coaches said their athletes are frustrated and demotivated by the inactivity in the junior athletics season because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

There has been no track and field in Jamaica since March because of a rise in cases across the island, which resulted in a number of development meets being cancelled.

The ISSA/GraceKennedy Boys and Girls’ Athletics Championships (Champs) was scheduled for March 22-27, but the Government’s restrictions because of the surge in COVID 19 cases cancelled those plans. However, ISSA has set a contingency date for May 4-8, pending government approval.

“It is frustrating for everybody, including the kids, the coaching staff, and managers who come every day and prepare for a particular date,” Calabar High School assistant coach Omar Hawes said. “Remember, it was to be held from March, and then we had a new date, and we heard that it will be on another date. So if that is the case and it can be held, then I hope that they don’t frustrate the kids anymore.

“We want to just get this thing going so that we can get back to the duties of the kids, because that is being disrupted as well.”

Hawes said that a number of his athletes have also shown signs of giving up on the season.

“Some of them have stopped training and we have been trying our best to keep them coming to training, because [the] last time they trained their hearts out and then there were no Champs; and this year it might be the same.”

Feeling powerless

Like Hawes, Hydel High School head coach Corey Bennett said a number of his athletes have also stopped attending training because of uncertainty about Champs.

“It is very difficult, because right now I am feeling powerless, to be honest, dealing with these kids,” he said. “I have two major athletes who have pretty much called it a season already, and the training is just jogging on because there is no real hope, even though it seems there will be a new announcement that there will be another Champs delay.

“However, we kind of heard this before, and I sent some communication to the athletes indicating that there is going to be some delay in the championships. but the expected response I didn’t get, because I think most of them are saying it is like ‘Here we go again’.”

When contacted, ISSA President Keith Wellington said they are still in discussions with the Ministry of Sport about the resumption of the athletics season.