ASAJ decides against participating at Carifta Swimming Championships

ASAJ decides against participating at Carifta Swimming Championships

Observer staff reporter

Saturday, March 14, 2020

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With the ever-expanding coronavirus disease (COVID-19) outbreak, Aquatic Sports of Jamaica (ASAJ) President Martin Lyn has decided against participation at the 35th edition of the Carifta Swimming Championships scheduled for April 11-14 in Barbados.

Lyn explained that the decision was taken by his administration following an update from minister of sport Olivia Grange, informing all national sport bodies about the implications of the urgent and necessary measures being taken by the Government of Jamaica to prevent the spread of COVID-19.

That update was briskly followed by another yesterday, which advised Lyn to close both pools at the National Aquatic Centre with immediate effect until further notice.

This decision is in keeping with the new health protocols, regarding public gatherings declared by Prime Minister Andrew Holness at an emergency press briefing held at the Office of the Prime Minister on Wednesday.

“We the ASAJ have taken a decision not to participate because of what is happening here in Jamaica and around the world. We will now communicate that decision to all our stakeholders and of course unfortunately the athletes that will not be able to participate,” Lyn told the Jamaica Observer yesterday.

“It was a tough call for us to make because athletes have worked very hard to attain qualifying times in order to represent Jamaica at this very high level in swimming, and I am sure they will be disappointed if they were unable to participate.

“But it is better to live to swim another day rather than to run the risk of exposing ourselves to contamination and possibly being setback for how long in order to recover from the virus,” he added.

That said, Lyn expressed optimism that the event, which is customarily hosted over the Easter weekend, will be postponed and not cancelled. However, that decision will rest solely on the host nation and its swimming federation.

When contacted, Tony Selby, president of the Barbados Amateur Swimming Association, told the Jamaica Observer that a meeting was scheduled for late yesterday evening, after which a statement would follow. He also revealed that a notice was sent to all federations.

But, the Observer has been reliably informed that the Carifta Swimming Championships could possibly be postponed until August.

“Hopefully it will be just a postponement until later this year and then we will see what is what. But the ASAJ has now taken a decision not to send a team to participate in Barbados, so for now it's a wait and see what they [Barbados] are doing and I am hoping that they will postpone,” Lyn shared.

Meanwhile, in her letter to the heads of sport federations, Grange noted that the “necessary measures” would have a direct impact on entertainment and sport activities, including Jamaica's “participation in regional and possibly international competitions as well as the staging of competitions across the island.”

She urged the federations to follow the guidance of the health authorities, noting that “the success of the measures outlined by our Government is dependent on all of us, especially leaders, doing our part”.

Grange made clear that she “cannot support any action outside of the guidance given, including overseas travel for national teams”.

However, she noted that the situation is dynamic and subject to regular review and she is committed to continued dialogue and consultation with the national sport federations as the situation unfolds.

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