JAAA hierarchy ready for safe resumption of track and field

Sport

JAAA hierarchy ready for safe resumption of track and field

Sunday, January 24, 2021

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Having spent the past few months working assiduously to find workable solutions for the safe return of track and field, the hierarchy of the sport's governing body, the Jamaica Athletics Administrative Association (JAAA) is expressing optimism that they will be ready to welcome back a return to the track.

Both President Garth Gayle and Vice-President Ian Forbes are confident that the organisation has done enough to oversee the safe resumption of the sport, whenever approval is given by the authorities.

Gayle says that he understands the anxiety of schools in particular, which are eager to get preparations underway for the ISSA/GraceKennedy Boys' and Girls' Athletics Championships, especially with last year's staging being cancelled.

He expressed supreme confidence that when the full proposal is unveiled to everyone, both the Government and the other stakeholders will be pleased and track and field will get underway in full force.

“We are confident that the programme that we are going to put together, they [stakeholders] will understand that under the pandemic situation, that this is the best way. It is a win-win situation for all concerned.

“We do know the challenges [and] I know schools want to get ready for and meet the qualifying standards for championships,” he said.

Gayle noted that the JAAA has been working continuously, along with various stakeholders, to put forward a solid proposal to the Minister of Sport Olivia Grange.

“The team has been working non-stop. We have involvement from the coaches association of Jamaica, we are speaking with meet promoters, we are speaking also with our sponsors. So, we believe that at the end of the day…we have to take the programme to the minister and allow the minister some time for her to do the necessary work.

“We are confident that she will get it done because she loves sports and she is working along with us,” noted Gayle.

Forbes spoke of the continued need for a pragmatic approach to the situation, even as anxiety builds with the desire for a resumption.

“There is disappointment, the fact that sports has not resumed, but we have to look at the situation in its totality,” he said.

Forbes spoke of the need to be mindful of the damaging effects of community spread and the care necessary to prevent such an occurrence.

“Of course, there is a public health crisis with respect to the pandemic, so one has to be cautious, careful. We heard about community spread, possibility of another surge, so all those factors have to be taken into consideration,” Forbes reasoned.

The JAAA vice-president says that his organisation remains guided by the experts in the situation.

“We have to be guided by the science and the technical expertise, so from that standpoint I think we have to understand and cooperate as best as possible. As the president said, we have been taking the necessary steps and collaborating — not just within our sport, but with other sporting organisations.

“We are taking the proprietary steps to ensure that once we get the green light to resume, we will be fully ready and prepared to move forward,” Forbes ended.

There are suggestions that track and field could see a return next month.

— Dwayne Richards


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