If the Coronavirus (COVID-19) no longer poses a threat to Barbados and some normalcy has been restored to the island, veteran track and field coach Alwyn Babb is suggesting that a track meet such as a relay championship, be held to finish off a troubled 2020 on a high note.
Babb, an International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) certified track and field coach, made the suggestion during an interview with Barbados TODAY following last month’s cancellation of the BSSAC final due to the deadly virus that has brought the sporting world to a halt globally.
“We may not be able to hold a sports final like the magnitude of a BSSAC final. What I would have probably done is look at holding some kind of meet with schools who would be willing to participate. So, that this year wouldn’t finish without some kind of track and field championship or invitational meet for schools, to bring some kind of closure to the year.
“I don’t know how many schools have been able to keep their people training. Those persons who probably have been training are those persons who are affiliated with clubs. And some schools would benefit from club affiliation at this point in time and would have the advantage over other schools who may not have as many athletes in clubs,” he said.
He added: “The best thing to do is hold a schools relay championship to finish off the year which would give schools a chance to put together four runners. And just have a relay championship to have some activity which would be much easier to manage than a full interschool BSSAC final.”
Babb stated that he had hoped the BSSAC organisers’ first move would have been a postponement rather than a full cancellation.
“Coaches like myself and the athletes were hoping that they would have gone to a postponement which is a wait and see game and then hopefully once time allowed we would have then completed the final. But the organisers – I don’t know acted on what advice – but they went straight for a cancellation. I got the impression that making the decision they had spoken to the number of sponsors, etcetera, and the decision was to cancel.
“But I was hoping that the first move would have been postponement and then the last option would have been the cancellation if we ran out of time. I believe the pressure of the timeline as it relates to examination and based on what has happened now with the CXC exams which was moved to possibly June, July. Then the only time we would have had that inter-school BSSAC final would have been late August or early September. And I am not sure if physical education teachers because we are dealing with the school setting, would have been able to mobilise their teams over a period of time of inactivity to give a quality finals,” he said.
With organisers taking this opportunity to think of ways of enhancing the BSSAC, Babb said that this point in time was not ideal to follow the St Michael School experiment of staging night meets. He explained that there were several considerations that had to be taken into account if BSSAC were to take that route. But at the same time Babb credited the St. Michael School for creating a network particularly through their old scholars association to make such an event possible.
“It is not a good feeling when you have a parent
call you at nine o’clock a night to tell you ‘I have not seen or heard my daughter or my son up to this time’. It is not a good feeling. So there has to be much more discussion into an evening to night meet as it relates to students being on their own to get home. And even with a weekend meet, teachers work Monday to Friday. So there is a lot more thinking that has to go into moving the meet to that stage at this point in time and the logistics of how it is going to happen and the safety of the meet when it is over, “ he said.
Despite what’s happening in Barbados and around the world, Babb said he was impressed to see how athletes, especially those that are part of his Rising Stars Club, had found creative ways to train.
“Athletes at this point in time, well the ones I coach, are trying to get stronger, doing techniques and stuff like that. I will soon put up a video of the creativity that some of them come up with during the lockdown. Some made hurdles using bamboo, some use chairs, some use concrete blocks. So, I soon put those up to show how the athletes adapt during this time,” he said.