The extremely anticipated Inter-secondary Colleges Sports activities Affiliation (ISSA)/GraceKennedy Boys’ and Women’ Athletics Championships will likely be again this 12 months after being cancelled final 12 months, however it is going to be a “Champs” with a distinction because the organisers battle to maintain the five-day occasion secure for all stakeholders because the nation continues to grapple with the novel coronavirus pandemic.
Champs 2021 will likely be held at Nationwide Stadium from Tuesday, Might 11 to Saturday, Might 15, however with a number of modifications that have been hammered out as ISSA sought to current a product that was secure and consistent with the Authorities’s pointers.
Talking at a digital launch ISSA President Keith Wellington stated that Champs, which had been recognised by World Athletics in 2020 with the Heritage Plaque, a designation which honours the occasion for its contribution to world observe and discipline, “just isn’t a easy gathering of highschool athletes competing for medals and trophies”.
“The ISSA/GraceKennedy Boys’ and Women’ [Athletics] Championships is a world occasion which has introduced success, honour and glory to many people, faculties, communities and this nation, it’s due to this fact befitting that come Might 11, Champs will return after the 2020 cancellation as a result of onset of COVID-19,” stated Wellington.
After being cancelled simply two weeks earlier than final 12 months’s staging, a number of changes have been made to fulfill the Authorities with a variety of protocols being put in place, the launch occasion was advised.
Richard Thompson, chairman of the Champs planning committee, outlined a variety of modifications that, he stated, have been a part of the settlement that have been arrived at throughout negotiations with the Authorities and numerous state companies.
From a excessive of over 2,700 athletes, simply round 970 of the nation’s prime highschool athletes will strut their stuff at this 12 months’s occasion that can see an “adjusted” competitors schedule because the qualification construction was additionally modified for this staging.
ISSA had put a cap on the variety of athletes that would participate, permitting for the highest two from every of the 4 regional championships in three occasions – the 100m, 200m and 400m – in every of the seven courses, three for boys and 4 for ladies, being computerized qualifiers and will likely be joined by the subsequent 24 on instances, with every college allowed simply two athletes per occasion.
The highest 24 in every class within the 800m would qualify in addition to the highest 15 within the 1500m, 3,000m, 5,000m and steeplechase and the highest 12 within the throwing and leaping occasions.
Thompson stated about half of the 80 faculties that had entered groups had 10 or much less athletes and there have been 68 boys groups with 502 athletes and 61 women groups with 464 athletes.
Thompson identified that from Tuesday to Friday competitors will likely be held between 9:00 am and 5:45 pm and on Saturday, the ultimate day, competitors will begin at 10:00 am and finish at 3:30 pm, consistent with the all-island curfew that was imposed by the Authorities to decelerate the unfold of the novel coronavirus.
In contrast to earlier years when only a few finals can be held on the primary few days, there will likely be 16 finals on the primary day of the championships – 5 on Wednesday, 11 on Thursday, 17 on Friday and 36 on Saturday.
On the launch, Wellington additionally thanked sponsors who, he stated, had “as soon as once more proven their dedication to nation-building via their unwavering assist for boys’ and lady’s championships, even in a time of doubt and even disaster, the dedication has not gone unnoticed and our younger pupil athletes will perpetually be glad about your continues assist”.
The ISSA boss additionally thanked the Authorities for its half.
“With out the blessing and confidence of the Authorities of Jamaica together with the related state companies, this occasion wouldn’t turn into a actuality. We’re happy with the persevering with assist from these entities and want to specific our gratitude on behalf of our collaborating faculties and the observe and discipline fans who craved the return of boys’ and women’ championships,” Wellington ended.