Mon | Nov 29, 2021

Passing grade on safety

Coaches satisfied with safety protocols at Champs

Published:Wednesday | May 12, 2021 | 12:14 AMRobert Bailey/Gleaner Writer

With the ISSA/GraceKennedy Boys and Girls’ Athletics Championships being staged inside the National Stadium under strong safety protocols in light of the COVID-19 pandemic, a number of coaches have already given the thumbs up to the guidelines, and have expressed confidence in the safe execution of the five-day championships.

The event, which is now in its second day of competition, was cancelled last year due to the coronavirus outbreak in Jamaica, but was allowed to take place this year without spectators and under strict protocols such as the sanitising of equipment after each use, hand sanitisation of each competing athlete, mask wearing by officials and social distancing among non-competitors.

ISSA has also placed several sanitisation and temperature check stations throughout the venue, while COVID-19 logistics personnel can be seen walking throughout the venue and ensuring adherence to the protocols.

Calabar High School’s assistant coach, Omar Hawes, admitted that while necessary, the protocols could be seen as annoying at times. However, he welcomed the guidelines and noted that he certainly felt safe inside the venue.

“I think from you enter the stadium, you felt a sense of full security,” said Hawes.

“It is good look, but it is little bit annoying at times to how secure we feel, but it is in good fate and I applauded ISSA and their stakeholders for making this a reality in terms of keeping this championships,” Hawes added.

He noted that the Calabar athletes and staff have been sensitised about the COVID-19 rules and are all committed in following these guidelines.


“I am feeling pretty safe and it is something that we have to get accustomed to. The social distancing is being observed because we have our marshal here and she is around us every minute of the day,” Hawes said.

Meanwhile, Hydel High School’s head coach Corey Bennett is also pleased with the efforts that ISSA has made to ensure that the championships is staged safely.

“So far everything is in check, everything is on spot. I believe that ISSA has done a wonderful job in making sure that the protocols are observed,” said Bennett. “We have quite a lot of marshals and logistics persons who are doing a good job in just reminding everybody to stay six feet apart and wear their mask.”

“I think that they are doing a good job. I feel safe and I think that there is a very small chance of us contracting the COVID-19 virus and the mere fact that almost all the persons here have tested negative is even more of a comfortable feeling for everybody.”

For long-time head coach of Wolmer’s Girls’ School Michael Carr, it was total satisfaction with the early indications at the championships, as far as safety is concerned.

“I am quite satisfied with what is happening because I feel safe based on the amount of sanitising machinery around and the emphasis on social distancing,” said Carr.

“I think kudos must go to ISSA because they have done a tremendous job so far to make this happen and so I feel very safe right now,” added Carr.