As the Athletics Association of Barbados (AAB) gears up for the 2022 season, the local governing body continues to have discussions on whether permission will be granted for spectators to attend events, says Public Relations Officer Esther Maynard.
At this stage Maynard, a longstanding and well respected veteran sports administrator, said given the fluid situation where COVID-19 is concerned, they continue to have several meetings with key stakeholders including the COVID-19 Monitoring Unit to ensure the safety of all.
“What we as a board have to do is determine what new protocols if any would be put in place and also have permission from the COVID Monitoring Unit to have things in place. People are going to be looking to see if we are going to have spectators, so those are added things that have to be decided on,” Maynard said.
There is a draft for the 2022 track and field season of which Barbados TODAY saw a copy which stated that AAB’s first meet is scheduled for Saturday, January 22nd and runs through to December with a list of events planned. The 2022 edition of the CARIFTA Games in Jamaica is also part of the AAB calendar as many of this country’s top junior athletes will seek to qualify.
However, Maynard noted that given the fluid situation surrounding COVID-19 everything must be planned carefully. During a telephone interview with Barbados TODAY, Maynard, an IAAF veteran, stressed the need for the AAB to work with the relevant authorities to provide a safe environment for all. “It is a fluid situation and there are several things to consider. The current situation with COVID is that we have to be guided by the Minister of Health and the COVID Monitoring Unit because everything we do is subject to their approval and that has to be stated out front.
“Also, the board has to determine if the protocols that we have are going to change and all of that will be decided within the next week. The other is the situation with the Stadium and the lack of venues, all of that is being worked on with the relevant authorities.
“We don’t make the decisions, we have to fall in line with the decisions that are made because we don’t have our own facility, we use government and university facilities. So, those things should determine the roll-out and confirm where meets will take place. So, that is where we are, we did the basic planning and it is now to determine in detail how we go forward based on those protocols,” Maynard explained.
She added: “We must work with the relevant authorities to ensure that everybody that falls under our meet, whether it would be athletes, officials, spectators, be in a protective environment to ensure we don’t add to the situation where COVID is concerned. So, we are doing all that we can to be a responsible association.”
The 49th staging of CARIFTA in Jamaica is dated for Saturday, April 16th to Monday, April 18th and is very much anticipated given that the last two editions were cancelled. This is the eighth time Jamaica will be the host and has the distinction of being the most successful country at the CARIFTA Games with a whopping 770 gold medals.
Barbadian athletes will be hoping to feature among the 650 athletes scheduled to participate in the Under-17 and 20 Divisions as the Jamaica Administrative Athletics Association (JAAA) confirmed the staging of this prestigious junior track and field event at a cost of just under US$1 million. During the announcement late last year that his country will host the event, JAAA President Garth Gayle said, “The opportunity to host these kinds of milestones is a tremendous opportunity for Jamaica to host some of the best sporting talents from the region to the world. This event will also offer some insight on what competition from this region could look like at the 18th World Athletics Championships, scheduled for Eugene, Oregon in July 2022.
“The number of other international events which will follow allows the Carifta Games to signal that the youth from the region are ready for competition; that sport is ready and open for business and Jamaica will host the 800+ people from all over in a safe and secure environment.”