Full speed ahead!
JAAA to put plans in place to mitigate loss of pre-Olympic training campThursday, June 17, 2021
BY PAUL A REID
Yesterday's announcement of the cancellation of Jamaica's pre-Olympic training camp in Tottori, Japan, will not derail Jamaica's preparation or participation in the Olympic Games set to start in Tokyo next month, says Garth Gayle, president of the Jamaica Athletics Administrative Association (JAAA).
The Jamaica Olympic Association (JOA) yesterday announced that the camp that was to have been sponsored by the Japanese Government had to be cancelled due to the continued spread of the novel coronavirus pandemic in that Asian country.
A press release from the JOA advised that a decision has been taken to cancel the camp which had been scheduled for next month in the Prefecture of Tottori, Japan. In the communication to the JOA, the Tottori Prefectural Government stated that “due to the spread of COVID-19, the Japanese Government is imposing strict measures on all local governments hosting pre-Games camp, which are unprecedented and treated as “abnormal circumstances”.
Yesterday's JOA release said the communication with its Japanese counterparts “stated that although the current COVID-19 situation in Tottori Prefecture is not as serious as in other regions, the increasing cases of highly infectious mutant variants and the ongoing state of emergency in Tokyo and in eight other prefectures are raising public sentiments nationwide which has also increased concerns locally among citizens, health-care providers and health authorities with regards to hosting pre-Games camp. It also stated that under these unfortunate circumstances, the Prefectural Government has been compelled to conclude that it would be extremely difficult to hold a safe and secure camp for Jamaica's athletes as initially planned.
“We will attend the Olympics and we will put contingencies in place to mitigating the loss of the training camp. Already coaches have been working with athletes with relay exchanges here in Jamaica and we just have to expand that,” Gayle told the Jamaica Observer yesterday.
While Jamaicans could compete in as many as eight sporting disciplines at the Olympic Games that was postponed by a year after the outbreak of the coronavirus pandemic last year and is set to be held July 23-August 8, it is the track and field team that benefits mostly from the pre-Olympic camps.
At the camps which are normally held between two to three weeks, athletes, especially those who are still students or not in one of the big camps, get the opportunity to fine-tune their preparations and also allow for relay baton change practice.
“We have to take a careful look at how best we can arrange for full training with our elite athletes here in Jamaica; some athletes will break and go off to their various overseas camps as normal and we have to co-ordinate how we can get everyone together with enough time to the Games,” Gayle added.
Traditionally, the professionals leave Jamaica the week after the National Championships, with MVP going to their European base in Lignano, Italy, and Racers TC to their London base in England from where they have easier access to the various meets in Europe.
The JOA release added: “In light of the new measures and policy approach of the Japanese Government, the Prefectural Government was constrained to make new proposals that would make it practically impossible for the camp to take place as the revised timetable would have the delegation arriving practically at the same time scheduled for the opening of the Athletes' Village which would defeat the objectives of holding the camp.
“The JOA and the Tottori Prefectural Government regret the cancellation of the camp, but mutually accept that the unprecedented circumstances created by the advent of the COVID-19 pandemic have caused the Government of Japan to adopt stringent measures in the interest of public safety.”
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