Senior athletes to strut stuff at National Stadium this weekendFriday, February 26, 2021
BY DWAYNE RICHARDS
Jamaica's senior athletes will get a chance to grace the newly laid track at National Stadium this weekend, as track and field returns to the island after the Government finally granted permission for the return of the sport on Tuesday.
Senior athletes have not had the chance to compete at the stadium since the Velocity Fest track and field series was held last summer, and with just five months to go before the Tokyo Olympic Games will welcome the opportunity to gauge exactly where they are in their preparation.
The Jamaica Athletics Administrative Association (JAAA) will host a series of events which will run from February 27 to April 3, and is designed specifically to give the athletes an opportunity to meet qualification standards for their events ahead of major championships this year.
With overseas-based athletes able to compete since the start of the year, their home-based peers were at a decided disadvantage due to the lack of competition, so this series will now help to level the playing field as athletes based on the island get back to competitive action.
President of the JAAA, Garth Gayle said it was necessary for his organisation to provide this type of opportunity for the senior athletes.
“In an Olympic year, our senior athletes' preparation is paramount. They are seeking to achieve qualification marks leading to possible team selection. This they will achieve through competitive trials, and the JAAA is cognisant and is providing these opportunities,” he said.
Jamaica's national discus champion Fedrick Dacres was delighted that track and field was returning.
“I personally just appreciate the chance to actually see track and field in the country again; it has been greatly missed. And I am not just speaking as an athlete, but also as a spectator,” he stated.
Tomorrow's meet is expected to last for approximately two hours and 45 minutes, with action on the track starting with the women's 800m at 4:00 pm. This will be followed by the men's 800m before the quarter milers take to the track. The women's 400m precedes the men's 400m, which will be followed by the women's and men's 200m.
The flat sprints will then be interrupted as the hurdlers take to the track. The men's 110m hurdles will be followed by the women's 100m hurdles. The women's and men's 100m are the penultimate events of the evening, as the 60m women and men close the show at 6:45 pm.
In the field, the long jump for men and the shot put for women will get underway at 4:00 pm, which will be followed by the long jump women and the shot put men at 4:30 pm. At 5:00 pm the discus women and the high jump men will compete while the discus men close the show at 6:00 pm.
Strict COVID-19 protocols will be observed, which means spectators will not be allowed inside the venue.
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