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Calabar pull out of Gibson

Published:Tuesday | February 23, 2010 | 12:00 AM

André Lowe, Senior Staff Reporter

Athletic powerhouse Calabar High School have pulled out of this year's Gibson Relays after using an ineligible athlete at last year's meet.

The highly anticipated one-day meet will run off this Saturday at the National Stadium without the many-time local schoolboy champions after an overage athlete was used to compete in the Class-Three 4 x 100m relay last year.

The infringement automatically attracts a one-year suspension from the meet, according to rules and regulations outlined by the organisers.

However, it was the Calabar High officials who brought the incident to the attention of the meet directors before deciding to sit out this year's running.

Winston Ulett, a member of the Gibson Relays organising com-mittee, confirmed the withdrawal while underlining that he believed a genuine mistake was made on the part of the Calabar team management.

"They (Calabar) have with-drawn for this year and that is as a result of making a mistake in their entry last year and they pointed this out to us. We spoke to them and they said that they will not be participating this year," said Ulett.

"They decided to sit out for a year: we did not make any decision to suspend them or anything like that. They decided even before we could meet and decide. So it's their decision and I believe it's a noble one."

unaware of breach

Ulett admitted that the organisers were not aware of the infringement prior to being informed by the Calabar officials through a letter early last week; and was clear on the implications of the rules which were in place concerning such violations.

"We were made aware of the situation last week Wednesday when Calabar sent us a letter stating that they are apologising for committing this infringement. We were not aware of this before," Ulett shared.

"The rules are there, they are plain and simple. If you make an infringement, then you will not receive an invitation for a period of time, which is really one year. Those (rules) cannot change."

The particular rule that speaks to this particular matter states: "In school events, age limit and all other regulations governing the competition for high school boys, high school girls, independent and so on and so forth, shall be determined in a similar manner as it affects their various competitions, any violation of the above regulation will result in the withholding of an invitation to the faulting institution from participating in the annual event for a period of time."

Calabar's coach, Michael Clarke, described the incident as an unfortunate human error but insisted that his team's absence from the meet will not have too much of an impact on his programme heading into this year's GraceKennedy/ISSA Boys and Girls' Championships.

"It's a very unfortunate situation, it's all human error and we just have to be more careful to ensure that this is not repeated," Clarke pointed out. "I wouldn't say this withdrawal would affect us a lot because our preparation is not solely based on our participation at this meet, it is centred around a build-up of meets."