Fri | Jul 23, 2021

JAAA serious about protocols at National Champs

Published:Sunday | June 20, 2021 | 12:09 AMRobert Bailey - Sunday Gleaner Writer

With Jamaica’s best track and field athletes set to descend on the National Stadium on Thursday for the National Junior and Senior Championships, chairman of the Jamaica Athletics Administrative Association’s (JAAA) organising committee, Ludlow Watts, has warned that strict COVID-19 safety measures have been implemented, and that non-compliance will result in expulsion from the championships.

The championships, which will be held from June 24-27 at the National Stadium, will be used to help select Jamaica’s teams to this year’s World Athletics Under-20 Championships in Nairobi, Kenya, as well as Olympic Games in Tokyo, Japan.

One of the major requirements for all participating athletes is the requirement to conduct and produce a negative Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR) COVID-19 test, 72 hours ahead of the championships.

Watts noted that the association has made special arrangements with the University Hospital of the West Indies to facilitate athletes, and warned that those who fail to meet this requirement will not be allowed to compete at the championships.

System in place

“Whatever test that needs to be done, we have things in place to ensure that tests are done and the results will be provided within 72-hours, and so we have this system in place,” said Watts.

“So for all athletes who need to be tested, they can contact us and they can get PCR tests done. We have a special window and special arrangement in place for this. For example, if they come on Monday, they can get their test done Monday evening and get back the results by Tuesday, and if they come on Tuesday, then they can get the result by Wednesday,” Watts stated.

JAAA President Garth Gayle said that the requirement for all athletes to produce a negative PCR test 72 hours ahead of the championships is on the advice of the officials from the Ministry of Health and Wellness and the ministry of sports, but that they are continuing discussions to see what additional assistance can be afforded to the athletes.

“We are in dialogue with the ministry of sports to see how best we can assist our athletes and, hopefully, there will be an announcement shortly, but at the moment, we have in our communication with our athletes stated that a negative PCR tests result must be presented 72 hours before,” Gayle further clarified.

Meanwhile, Watts underscored that the JAAA has established several other strict COVID-19 protocols for the championships, while pointing out that athletes who fail to adhere to the guidelines and restrictions will be thrown out of the venue.

“In terms of the protocols, we have trained a number of COVID-19 marshals and they will be monitoring everything that the athletes do during the championships,” said Watts. “We will also be providing masks for every athlete and official attending the championships.

“The sanitisation inside the stadium will be done properly to fit all conditions and even better, as part of the Government’s guidelines for the championships. We are doing our part to ensure that all is in place for a very safe and successful championships,” Watts stated.