Fate of Champs hangs in the balanceSaturday, April 10, 2021
THE wait for the fate of the Inter-secondary Schools Sports Association (ISSA) National Boys' and Girls' Athletics Championships will be extended until at least the start of next week, after the executive held an emergency meeting with major stakeholders and sponsors on Friday.
Based on reports reaching the Jamaica Observer late yesterday the fate of the five-day championships is in limbo, with the possibility looming that it will be cancelled for a second-straight year as ISSA is still to get a response from the Government of Jamaica regarding the organisation's latest proposals submitted over two weeks ago.
Keith Wellington, president of ISSA, was tight-lipped when he spoke to the Observer late yesterday. “We met with our major stakeholders and our sponsors and we have come to a decision, but that will not be communicated until the start of next week.”
In declining to say what the decision was, he noted he was bound by an agreement made at the meeting, but the Observer learned from other sources that the situation “was not looking good for Champs this year”.
The event was cancelled last year, days after the first case of the novel coronavirus was discovered on the island, and there were high hopes that after the successful staging of 20 track meets on the island between late February and mid-March, the event set for April 27-May 1 would be given the go-ahead by the government agencies.
Earlier this week ISSA had voiced its concerns that if the Government did not give approval for the resumption of track and field, the organisation could be forced to pull the plug on the annual event as early as this weekend.
Having submitted “operational procedures and how we expect to ensure that it is a safe Champs”, ISSA is yet to hear anything from the Government “one way or the other”, Wellington said, and that with less than three weeks from the scheduled start to the five-day championships the organisation could be left with no option but to cancel.
— Paul Reid
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