Tue | Sep 28, 2021

JAAA won’t rush Carifta, World U-20 decision

Published:Tuesday | April 27, 2021 | 12:17 AMDaniel Wheeler/Staff Reporter
Jamaica’s Anthony Cox in action at the World Athletics Under 18 Championships in Nairobi, Kenya on Sunday, July 11, 2017. Cox is one of the athletes who would have possibly been in action at the World Athletics Under 20 Championships at the same venue la
Jamaica’s Anthony Cox in action at the World Athletics Under 18 Championships in Nairobi, Kenya on Sunday, July 11, 2017. Cox is one of the athletes who would have possibly been in action at the World Athletics Under 20 Championships at the same venue last year if not for the postponement because of the COVID-19 pandemic.
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President Garth Gayle says that the Jamaica Athletics Administrative Association (JAAA) will not be rushed into a final decision regarding the nation’s junior athletes’ participation in regional and international competitions this year. The North...

President Garth Gayle says that the Jamaica Athletics Administrative Association (JAAA) will not be rushed into a final decision regarding the nation’s junior athletes’ participation in regional and international competitions this year.

The North American, Central American and Caribbean Athletic Association (NACAC) is expected to decide on the fate of the Carifta Games next month and as athletes attempt to achieve the qualifying standards for the World Athletics Under 20 Championships scheduled for August in Kenya. The Carifta Games had to be pushed back twice because of the COVID-19 pandemic, and conflicts with regional examinations. The rescheduled meet is set for August 13-15 in Bermuda but that is now in jeopardy because of a spike in cases in the country.

Gayle, who had previously committed to sending teams to both competitions, says that the JAAA will evaluate all factors before a final decision is made on participation in either the World Under 20s or Carifta, should the latter still be held.

“At no time, the JAAA makes decisions from a one-person position,” Gayle told The Gleaner. “It goes through the various committees or subcommittees and then on to the executive, who will be collectively reviewing all the points, and all the factors in arriving at a decision.”

WITHDRAWAL FROM GAMES

Jamaica withdrew recently from the World Athletics Relays in Poland because of strict travel restrictions caused by the pandemic, which the JAAA says made it “extremely challenging for the Jamaican team and officials to participate”.

Domestically, the junior season has already experienced challenges this year because of a late start and the pause in meets caused by the three-weekend lockdown which started in late March. Meets have resumed in light of the revised measures and the ISSA/GraceKennedy Boys and Girls’ Athletics Championships (Champs) were given government approval for May 11-15. Calabar coach Errol Messiah said that while he would not want to deprive his athletes of the opportunity to compete overseas, he is concerned about the athletes’ readiness to perform at the international level, should they participate.

“We have student-athletes who want to participate at the international level, but I’m not too sure that the athletes are well prepared, in this long drawn-out thing before Champs and some of the athletes feel like nothing is going to go on,” Messiah said. “You have students who are training but not giving it their all because of the uncertainty.”

Despite the concern, Messiah said that the attitude of the athletes could change after Champs, given that they would have been able to have the experience they missed out on last year and be more motivated to compete in the international meets should they still take place.

daniel.wheeler@gleanerjm.com