Better late than never!

Athletics

Better late than never!

Organisers looking at later 'than usual' date for staging of Champs 2021

BY PAUL A REID
Observer writer
reidp@jamaicaobserver.com

Friday, November 06, 2020

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A later than usual staging of the Inter-secondary Schools Sports Association (ISSA) Boys' and Girls' Championships could benefit all the stakeholders, says President Keith Wellington.

Champs usually starts in late March, a month before the Easter weekend when the CARIFTA Games, the regional championships, are held, but Wellington says there is a possibility the script could be flipped with the high school event being staged afterwards.

ISSA is now in discussion about the staging of Champs next year after this year's renewal was cancelled due to the COVID-19 pandemic, having sought suggestions from coaching associations and if they get the go ahead from the Government.

“We are still in discussions about what type of Champs would be possible, and if it is possible, when it would be likely to have Champs,” Wellington told the Jamaica Observer.

“For us ideally, the later we can have it the better it would be for everybody, in terms of the training, making the preparations for the staging and all of that, so we are thinking for us ideally a late Champs would be better off, meaning later that the last week of March as is customary,” he added.

Recently, the North and Central American and Caribbean Confederation (NACAC), organisers of the CARIFTA Games, said they, too, were looking at staging their event in 2021 after being forced to cancel it due to the outbreak of the coronavirus pandemic and that could force ISSA into moving the meet from March.

“We know that CARIFTA Games is usually held over the Easter weekend; if there is any possibility at all that we can have Champs later, then it is an option that I am sure that we can consider. As I said before we are still in the process of having discussions if Champs would be a possibility and what shape and format it would take including a schedule,” noted Wellington.

There have been suggestions that ISSA could modify the format of the five-day championships at least for next year, with fewer athletes involved with the use of various qualifying systems, separating the genders, with boys and girls competing on different days as well as having more than one call rooms to avoid crowding.

One coaching body, the County of Cornwall Athletics Association (COCAA), had asked their members earlier this year when Champs should be held and just over 30 per cent said “somewhere between Easter and Penn Relays”.

One group of 19.2 per cent said during the Penn Relays weekend [last full weekend of April] and another group, also 19.2 per cent said “first week of May”.


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