By Neto Baptiste
At least five of the country’s premier track and field athletes have been confirmed for this month’s National Track & Field Championships.
Professional sprinter Cejhae Greene headlines the list with US-based high-jumper Priscilla Frederick Loomis also slated to compete at the YASCO Sports Complex. The country’s top female sprinter Joella Lloyd is also scheduled to be on show with us-based sprinters Tahir Walsh and Chevaughn Walsh rounding off the list of confirmed senior athletes.
President of the Antigua and Barbuda Athletics Association (ABAA), Everton Cornelius, said those athletes based outside of Antigua and Barbuda have all been vaccinated while the association is awaiting word from the health authorities as to how they will proceed with those athletes based here.
“I know we already have the go-ahead from the protocols that have already been put in place for us to go back to train and have our little development meet. We had people there on the weekend as guests and you could see how we accommodated them in terms of the way they were laid out and how we kept them apart, temperature checks at the gate, do the necessary sanitising and stuff like that,” he said.
“Now, we are looking at having the competition and we’re saying that persons must be vaccinated. People may want to come out of their cars and mingle, then that would probably limit the amount of people that we get at the track and it’s still okay with us because we are still going through with our national championships. I am not going to say that I know all of them [athletes] are vaccinated but we have put certain stipulations in place that have been put in place by the Ministry of Health and it has worked pretty well for us so we will continue with that. What we are asking for is for our overseas athletes and we know that they are all fully vaccinated,” he added.
The nationals, slated for June 19 and 20, will be the first installment in four years which was due to the unusable state of the track.
Cornelius said that although some spectators will be allowed into the facility, there will be strict guidelines and protocols.
“It’s not going to be open in terms of come one, come all; so what we are looking at is maybe hosting about 150 people but we are going to allow people to [drive] in with their cars and there will be a cover charge for that. We will probably see if we could have two or three rows of cars and the people in the front row will stay in their cars and the people behind them would be able to come out and stay by their car and how we will probably line it up and see how many people we can accommodate. We haven’t worked out the overall logistics as yet but that’s exactly what we are looking at,” he said.
Action is slated to start at 2 pm on both days.
The YASCO Sports Complex was recently outfitted with a new Mondo surface in early March after being under repair for over three years. However, the surface is yet to be certified.