ISSA wants more track and field development meets this season says Wellington

ISSA wants more track and field development meets this season says Wellington

By Dwayne Richards
Observer writer

Saturday, January 02, 2021

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With the staging of the Inter-secondary Schools Sports Association (ISSA)/GraceKennedy Boys' and Girls' Athletics Championships (Champs)for 2021 high on the ag

By Dwayne Richards
Observer writer

enda, President Keith Wellington wants to see more, not less, development meets this season.

Wellington sees the staging of more meets each weekend as a safety measure that will ensure that athletes will be able to compete as often as necessary without being exposed to undue risk.

“We are hoping that we will have more meets than normal because we don't expect the normal numbers that would attend a particular meet to be the same. Where we normally have 1500, 2000 persons participating, we may find that having to be reduced to 700, 800. So, what we would want now is to see on any given weekend, four or five different meets being held, rather than two or three.”

Wellington sympathised with the athletes who have been unable to compete since March.

“Nobody here would have experienced anything like this, in particular our young students who are used to being active and outdoors all the time. To be cloaked up over so many months, it naturally causes undue stress on them.”

He acknowledged that there may still be some amount of fear from athletes and parents but suggested that most of the athletes wanted to get back to competing.

“I think it is something that they are just eager to see happen. I know they are still going to be a few who are still scared, and some parents may have issues with them going out, but for the most part they are eager to see competition resume and I think they want to be compliant as well.”

Wellington, who is also the principal of St Elizabeth Technical High School (STETHS), says the resumption of face-to-face classes will provide the opportunity to educate athletes about safety while competing.

“It is challenging for them as young people, but they want to be safe and they understand the implications of not doing what is expected of them. So, I am confident that not only will they be willing to comply but they will make the effort to comply. Schools are gradually coming back to face-to-face so we will get the opportunity to educate them along the way.”

Despite there being no Champs this year, a number of athletes were able to take up scholarships and Wellington hailed the part played by the Ministry of Sports in ensuring that it happened.

“Last year we started something really good between ISSA and the Ministry of Sports. When we got to June the [United States] embassy was closed and persons were having difficulties. We reached out to the Ministry of Sports and we were able to organise, and over 200 students got appointments with the embassy so that they could take up their scholarships. We want to build on that and ensure that there are opportunities for even more students.”

The return of Champs will certainly increase the likelihood of more student athletes, especially final year athletes, being able to secure track and field scholarships to universities both local and overseas.

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