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Baaa President Sets Record Straight On Nationals

As of Wednesday, April 15, 2020

BAAA President Drumeco Archer.

#By BRENT STUBBS

#Senior Sports Reporter

#bstubbs@tribunemedia.net

#ALTHOUGH the governing body of track and field, World Athletics, has reserved a date for their member countries to hold their national championships in August, Bahamas Association of Athletic Associations president Drumeco Archer said the Bahamas’ nationals could only be held at that time if the Bahamas Government gives the clearance to stage any local events.

#Last week, World Athletics announced that they have protected the weekend of August 8-9, 2020, as the projected window for national championships this year, following the disruption of the international competition calendar by the coronavirus pandemic.

#“I think it will obviously be an ideal position that we could take so that you can say you still had a track and field season,” Archer said. “But the problem is, you don’t know what the coronavirus containment level is at that point. So everything hinges on global development because Europe and the United States are both still under siege and they make up a large part of the track and field community.

#“Even for us, our national track and field programme is based on our US Development programme because many of our elite athletes train in the United States. And the other question is will our national stadium be available to us by August and what we have achieved to the level where we can go out and enjoy public spaces again?”

#Archer said it’s his wish that the BAAA Nationals, originally set for June – but that won’t happen because the priority is to ensure that the public remains healthy – and therefore they don’t want to go against any government policy that is in place about the gathering of crowds at any national event until further notice.

#“So we can only encourage our athletes to stay positive and active in their training, as much as they can,” Archer said. “But we can’t do a whole lot more than that. The problem that I have is whether or not the athletes will be race ready for July or August considering our limitation.

#“The other thing is nationals is not just senior nationals, but it’s also our junior nationals and so will we have athletes available in August because everyone will be wrapping up their season and getting ready for school. I don’t how feasible it is for the nationals to be held in August.”

#And with the 2020 Olympic Games in Tokyo, Japan postponed from July 24 to August 8, 2020 to July 23 to August 8, 2021, Archer said coaches are looking at the possibility of having their athletes shut down their season in October so that they can prepare for the off season in the lead up to next year.

#“There are two competing thoughts that we are faced with right now,” Archer said. “If we don’t achieve containment level, I think that it’s a real possibility that we won’t have the nationals this year.

#“If you follow the regional development of the coronavirus, every island, with the exception of the British Virgin Islands, are increasing their numbers by the day and we are moving into May and after that it’s June. We have not taken into consideration, the resumption of travel.”

#World Athletics announced that the newly established Global Calendar Unit has engaged actively with member federations, area associations, meeting directors and the World Athletics Athletes’ Commission in order to identify this window, a weekend when no Wanda Diamond League or World Athletics Continental Tour meetings are scheduled to be held this year.

#The purpose of creating a protected window is to allow athletes to be able to compete in their national championships without scheduling conflicts, and member federations are encouraged to take advantage of this opportunity if it is safe for athletes to compete in August. This applies primarily to the Northern Hemisphere, which is in its outdoor season.

#The Athletes’ Commission has advised that elite athletes have a strong desire to compete this year if possible, and World Athletics will do everything it can to conduct an international competition season later this year to assist athletes in preparation for the Tokyo Olympic Games next year.

#Said World Athletics President Sebastian Coe: “None of us can predict the future in these unprecedented times but we do know that different countries are at different stages of managing this pandemic so we are trying to give a structure to our athletes and member federations so they can begin to plan for the year ahead. If it is at all possible, we will schedule a belated outdoor season from August to October to help our athletes to figure out where they stand after the disruption of this year.

#“We are hopeful that this can begin with national championships in many Northern Hemisphere countries in early August as travel restrictions across country borders will not impact these events. This will be followed by what we hope will be a solid international season, but of course we are dependent on the global response to the pandemic.

#Nevertheless, we think it’s better to offer our stakeholders some hope of a return to normalcy later this year.”

#The Global Calendar Unit continues to work with the Diamond League and Continental Tour to reschedule the rest of the 2020 season and an announcement is expected towards the end of April.

#Because of the uncertainty surrounding the ability of all countries to resume competition at the same time or for athletes to have equal access to major competitions this year, the suspension of the Olympic qualification process will remain in place from April 6 to November 30, 2020, as announced earlier this week.

#This means that any results posted during this period will not be eligible for Olympic qualification or world ranking points.

#Looking forward to next year, the Global Calendar Unit has agreed that the 2021 national championships protected windows will be on June 5-6 and June 26-27, 2021, just prior to the end of the qualifying period for the Tokyo Olympic Games (June 29, 2021).

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