‘We need as­sur­ances’

MVP’s James weighs in on 2020 track and field sea­son

Jamaica Gleaner - - SPORTS - Daniel Wheeler/Gleaner Writer daniel.wheeler@glean­erjm.com

MVP TRACK Club Pres­i­dent Bruce James, says that ath­letes at the club could com­pete in in­ter­na­tional meets this year pro­vided that cer­tain ob­jec­tives are met to guar­an­tee their safety.

With other sports around the world al­ready re­turn­ing to ac­tion af­ter be­ing af­fected by the coron­avirus pan­demic, World Ath­let­ics in May re­leased a pro­vi­sional sched­ule for a short­ened 2020 Di­a­mond League and Con­ti­nen­tal Tour sea­son, which is sched­uled to be­gin on Au­gust 14 in Monaco and con­clude on Oc­to­ber 17 at a lo­ca­tion in China, which is to be de­ter­mined.

This af­ter sev­eral meets were ei­ther post­poned, resched­uled or can­celled due to the virus.

James says that the par­tic­i­pa­tion of MVP ath­letes, which in­clude dou­ble Olympic sprint cham­pion Elaine Thomp­son Herah and mul­ti­ple World and Olympic cham­pion Shelly-Ann FraserPryc­e, would be de­ter­mined by the eas­ing of travel re­stric­tions, as well as their sat­is­fac­tion with the health pro­to­cols that the meet pro­mot­ers have in place.

“If the Di­a­mond League sea­son does take place and if we are able to travel in­ter­na­tion­ally, and if we are able to meet all the re­quire­ments for that kind of global com­pe­ti­tion, then our ath­letes hope to par­tic­i­pate for 2020,” James told The Gleaner.

Ja­maica’s bor­ders were re­opened on June 1 for repa­tri­a­tion pur­poses, but will be open to all in­ter­na­tional travel on June 15.

Ac­cord­ing to World Ath­let­ics, meet or­gan­is­ers will de­ter­mine the for­mat of the com­pe­ti­tions and make those an­nounce­ments two months be­fore the sched­uled event, in or­der for the nec­es­sary pro­to­cols to be adopted by lo­cal gov­ern­ments.

James, who is also a regis­tered ath­lete rep­re­sen­ta­tive, says that it will be nec­es­sary to re­ceive as­sur­ances from air­lines, as well as the host coun­tries and cities, be­fore any de­ci­sion is taken to com­mit an ath­lete to a meet.

“We have to know what the air­lines are do­ing to pro­vide pro­tec­tion for all trav­ellers and then the var­i­ous coun­try pro­to­cols. Some coun­tries are still hav­ing in­creases in COVID-19 [cases], and there­fore we may choose not to go to a coun­try that has not got­ten the COVID-19 mat­ter un­der con­trol,” he said.

TEST­ING PRO­TO­COLS

Ad­di­tion­ally, James says that they would need clar­i­fi­ca­tion on test­ing pro­to­cols.

“Are the ath­letes go­ing to be tested? Are the of­fi­cials go­ing to be tested? How will we know what the sta­tus of the other par­tic­i­pants are at the re­spec­tive Di­a­mond League meets? So there are lot of things to be con­sid­ered,” added James.

While spe­cific meet de­tails have not been de­ter­mined, James, how­ever, sup­ports World Ath­let­ics’ ef­forts to still have com­pe­ti­tion this year.

“They are try­ing to sal­vage some­thing of a sea­son for 2020 and I think that is the right di­rec­tion; and, of course, I ex­pect that they will do ev­ery­thing to en­sure that they pro­tect the ath­letes, the coaches, the of­fi­cials, and the spec­ta­tors if they are able to put to­gether these se­ries of meets this year,” James said.

JAMES

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