JATAFCA proposes changes for Champs 2021

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JATAFCA proposes changes for Champs 2021

Thursday, October 15, 2020

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KINGSTON, Jamaica — The Jamaica Track and Field Coaches Association (JATAFCA) is proposing wide-ranging changes to the current format of the ISSA Boys and Girls Athletics Championships, including an additional day for the event and splitting the event for boys and girls over separate weekends.

JATAFCA says the proposal takes into account many factors that mitigate for COVID-19 virus which led to the cancelation of Champs earlier this year.

See statement in full:

The Jamaica Track and Field Coaches Association (JATAFCA) has produced a document detailing wide ranging changes to the current format for the Inter-Secondary Schools Sports Association (ISSA)/GraceKenndy Boys and Girls Athletics Championships that they feel can result in the successful staging of the event in 2021.

After a two day meeting held by the association last month they have come up with a document that they believe takes all of the factors into account for the resumption of Jamaica's premier high school track and field event.

The proposal takes into account many factors that mitigate for COVID-19 virus which caused the cancelation of Champs earlier this year.

The late start to the school year along with online learning, means that student athletes have not been involved in the usual early season preparations and so the proposal suggests a later start to Champs by a month. Instead of the usual end of March staging, it is being proposed that the event be staged from April 19th– 24thand be held over six days instead of the current five days.

There is also an alternative of separate Champs for boys and girls being staged over four days on separate weekends.

A key feature of the proposal is to eliminate, at least for now, “finals day” which usually happens on Saturday, the last day of Champs.

The long-mooted proposal of spreading the finals over a number of days to effectively limit crowd size is among the points being put forward. It is a long held view that, similar to events such as the World Championships and Olympic Games, the majority of finals be spread over a number of days and not mostly held on “Super Saturday” as now obtains.

On the matter of athlete control, once an athlete has been eliminated from competition he or she would leave the stadium versus returning to the “camp site” of his or her school, thereby reducing the number of athletes in the competitive area day by day. A separate entry for athletes, team officials and Meet Management Officials should also be established according to the proposal.

There is also a suggestion that each school create their own “bubble” according to the established protocols.

Another important consideration is the number of participants, which runs into the thousands each year. An increase in the qualification standards and the elimination of a “B” standard is seen as a way to have a “leaner” Champs.

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