Jamaica Athletic Administrative Association (JAAA) President Garth Gayle says this year’s staging of the 2022 ISSA/GraceKennedy Boys and Girls’ Athletics Championship (Champs) has shown Jamaica’s capability to welcome the region for the upcoming Carifta Games.
The three-day competition will begin this Saturday and continue through the Easter Weekend, marking the first time the event will be held in three years. The COVID-19 pandemic forced the cancellation of the 2020 and 2021 editions, which were originally scheduled to be held in Bermuda. Jamaica was awarded hosting duties late last year.
The 2022 edition of Champs saw the return of spectators to the stadium, albeit at reduced capacity. However, Gayle said the five days of action displayed the country’s competence to deliver the Carifta Games, thanks to the support from the Government.
“Jamaica’s sporting industry is open for business. I want to thank Sports Minister [Olivia] Grange, Local Government Minister [Desmond] McKenzie and all the other members who would have worked with us, our competitions commission of the JAAAs, North American, Central American and Caribbean Athletics Association (NACAC) in ensuring that the sport of track and field continues. It is alive. Our juniors are leading the way and soon to be followed by our seniors,” said Gayle.
HOPING FOR GOOD SUPPORT
Gayle concurred with the assessment of Inter-Secondary Schools Sports Association President Keith Wellington that patience would be needed for the crowd to be back to pre-pandemic levels. With Carfita tickets available to the public on both an online platform and at the National Stadium offices, Gayle hopes the home support turns out in numbers.
“Disappointed that the crowd was not large but it will take time. The schedule, I believe, was well accepted by the coaches and the athletes have performed. We had some stellar results, some stellar world junior leading times and throws. So it augurs well going into this week’s Carfita Games. I would love to see the Jamaicans come out in their numbers to support the black, green and gold,” Gayle said.
“Whatever is needed to be done within the coming days, I am sure we will get it done because we know how to put on a show.”
Local Organising Committee chairman Mike Fennell, while assuring that they will be ready for the competition, acknowledged that it will be a race to ensure that all is in place.
“These last days are going to be quite a rush because a number of things have to be done. We have to streamline the arrival times (of the teams). We have to really get all the details for their accommodations sorted out and certainly opening ceremony details. Quite a few things to be done now that Champs is over,” Fennell said.
People can go to www.mysticonlinetix.com to purchase tickets online, while the National Stadium ticket office will be open from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Grandstand tickets will cost $7,000 for season passes or $2,500 per day, while bleachers will cost $500 per day and $200 per day for students.
Photo: The closing show on Day 5 of the ISSA/GraceKennedy Boys and Girls’ Champs 2022 at the National Stadium, St Andrew, on Saturday, April 9, 2022. Gladstone Taylor