Champs now set for May 11-15
BY PAUL A REID
After being cancelled last year because of the COVID-19 pandemic, the Inter-secondary Schools Sports Association (ISSA) Boys’ and Girls’ Athletics Championships will be held over five days, May 11-15, reliable sources told the Jamaica Observer yesterday.
Though waiting for months to get the final approval for the staging of the championships, members of the ISSA executives as well as dozens of stakeholders including principals, student-athletes, coaches and fans were kept waiting a few more hours, as up to late last night the final approval had not arrived.
“We are just awaiting the dotting of the I’s and crossing of the T’s,” a source close to the negotiations told the Observer after a series of meetings between Tuesday evening and most of yesterday.
It is understood that government agencies were concerned about strict adherence to COVID-19 protocols at the biggest sporting event in the country, even after 20 approved meets were held between late-February and mid-March.
This week’s meetings had broken a long period of silence after ISSA delivered its final set of protocols for the staging of the event and was awaiting a response from the Government for the final approval.
As a consequence, the remaining three regional championships, Eastern, Central and Western Champs, are set to be held between April 26 and 30 after they were called off earlier at the last minute.
Under the qualification system that has been used for this year only, the top two finishers in all four regional championships, including the Corporate Area meet that was held earlier, will automatically qualify for Champs.
They will be joined by a number of others based on times while the top 12 in the island, a maximum two athletes per school, will qualify from field events, jumps and the throwing events.
A date of April 27-May 1 had been ‘approved’ earlier in the year but in interviews earlier with ISSA President Keith Wellington, he had told the Observer that the Champs committee, which is headed by Richard Thompson, the principal of Titchfield High School, would need a “clear three weeks” to make the final planning for the championships.