Overseas-based athletes may not have to quarantine for two weeks — JAAA
GAYLE...we are working with the government entities, and webelieve that the suggestions and recommendations that we haveput forward are workable because they are already in place(Photo: Observer file)

OVERSEAS-BASED Jamaican athletes hoping to take part in the Jamaica Athletics Administrative Association's (JAAA) National Senior and Junior Championships set for late June will not have to quarantine for two weeks before they are allowed to compete, the Jamaica Observer has learned.

President of the JAAA Garth Gayle said on Thursday that his organisation has been in talks with the Government and their agencies about protocols that will allow the overseas-based athletes to compete at the four-day event set for June 24-27 at National Stadium.

The National Trials will be used to select Jamaica's representatives to several international events later this year, including the Olympic Games in Tokyo, Japan; the World Athletics Under-20 Championships in Nairobi, Kenya; and the NACAC Under-18 and Under-23 championships in Costa Rica.

There were concerns that the overseas-based athletes would have to sit out for the required 14 days upon arriving in the island before being allowed to train or compete, but Gayle said talks were in progress with the Government.

“We are working with the government entities, and we believe that the suggestions and recommendations that we have put forward are workable because they [are] already in place and so, until we have received the response, we will speak more to it,” Gayle said.

“What we are looking at is an easy, workable situation that is already happening here in Jamaica and so, our overseas-based athletes will get the opportunity to come here and compete in a safe, healthy environment,” he added.

Meanwhile, the four-day event could follow the same procedure as the ISSA/GraceKennedy Boys' and Girls' Athletics Championships underway at National Stadium, which is being held in the daytime without fans in keeping with the government protocols.

“Our intent is to have one championships for juniors and seniors, because of the pandemic,” Gayle said. “However, we are all aware of the entry deadlines and requirements for each of these championships. Happily, we would be able to meet the deadline for the Olympics but the Under 20 and Under 23, we believe that we will be able to make those deadlines and we are looking at how best to achieve this.”

With the curfews and other protocols expected to be upheld, Gayle told the Observer that “we will have to abide by the rules laid out by the Government and their agencies.

“We have already started dialogue with them as to how we will go about having a championships that the viewers at home will be proud [of] – similar to what is happening here...just as we are having here at Champs,” Gayle noted.

He said the JAAA was proud of the part they had played in getting the sport back up and running, and the staging of the ISSA championships was part of the success.

“We have more than just a hand in the staging of Champs – I believe we were the lead,” Gayle stated.

“We started by putting out the protocols and training of the protocol marshals, and have led from the front – and we are proud of that. The expenditure has been heavy on our coffers but we are happy to do so because this is going towards the development of track and field,” he added.

— Paul Reid

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