Sport ministry ups quarantine prep for Trials
Sports Minister Olivia Grange says that there may be measures that would benefit Jamaican athletes travelling from overseas for the National Senior and Junior Championships, also known as Trials, next week.
The championships will run from June 24 to June 27 at the National Stadium with no fans in attendance. The event will determine the national senior and junior teams for the upcoming Olympic Games in Tokyo, Japan, and World Under-20 Championships in Nairobi, Kenya, respectively.
Organising Committee Chairman Ludlow Watts says that of the over 200 senior athletes that have entered, at least 100 will be overseas-based. They will be required to present a negative COVID-19 test result within 72 hours before entering Jamaica. Grange said a decision regarding quarantine measures for those athletes arriving for the champions will be made shortly.
“We are in consultations with the Ministry of Health and Wellness in order to determine how the athletes from overseas, on arrival, will be treated and if they will be exempt from any quarantine requirement. That announcement will come in short order,” Grange said.
A 14-day quarantine is still required for all unvaccinated persons entering Jamaica, while fully vaccinated persons would only need an eight-day quarantine. Watts says among the considerations was for those athletes to be in biosecure environments, using various hotels. However, he said that the cost would be financially infeasible for the majority of the athletes, and other options are being explored.
Jamaica Athletics Administrative Association (JAAA) President Garth Gayle says that whatever workaround that the sports ministry is negotiating for those overseas-based athletes, it would find a balance in honouring the protocols and allowing them the opportunity to compete.
“She (Grange) will work with her Cabinet colleagues to ensure that the laws of the land are respected,” Gayle said. “However, whatever can be done to help our athletes to be able to minimise the different challenges of arriving and departing back to their homes, and continue their training and so forth is [being done]. [But] we must listen to the doctors, the scientists, in how we manage and navigate the pandemic.”
A cheque for $12 million was also presented to the JAAA at the launch by the Sports Development Foundation to assist with funding for Trials.