By Neto Baptiste
The National Track & Field Championships has been postponed to July 4 and will now be hosted over a one-day period instead of the usual two days.
President of the Antigua and Barbuda Athletics Association (ABAA), Everton Cornelius, confirmed the new date after news broke last week that the championships had been postponed in an effort to give the association time to comply with all of the requirements by the health authorities.
The athletics boss is hoping that most if not all of their elite athletes will be available for the new date.
“We were trying to see if any of the athletes could make it back to participate after they would have left Antigua. We know some of them have duties differently but a couple of the athletes will be home so we would give them a chance to go out, compete over the weekend and then the following weekend we will do our stuff. The meet in the Bahamas will finish on the 28th [June] and then they would leave on the 29th, so who all will be coming back to Antigua would at least have a chance to compete in what we are doing,” he said.
There had been much confusion over the hosting of the event with Cornelius previously hinting that it would have been staged this week after being postponed from its original June 19 and 20 dates.
However, a number of the country’s elite athletes may miss the events due to scheduled commitments.
“Cejhae won’t be in Antigua because he has some commitments after Bahamas. Chevaughn will be in Antigua, Jered Jarvis will be in Antigua and Joella says she is coming back home, so she should be here too. I’ll have to ask Tahir if he’s willing to come back but I know he probably has a couple of meets he is going to attend so I don’t exactly know if he would come,” the president said.
As for reports that some athletes were sent into government quarantine on their arrival in Antigua even after being told this would not be the case, Cornelius said he has since had dialogued with the athlete in question and that an investigation into the matter is underway.
“I had a conversation with the young man [on Sunday] and he was explaining certain things to me. I am not the one who dealt with it; someone else within the association had that responsibility, so I told him that I would definitely look into it. I am having a meeting with the person who is responsible, along with him to see exactly what happened because everybody else got through. Why did he have a problem? Somebody needs to let me know why this individual had a problem when he got in,” he said.
A number of the country’s top athletes, to include male and female sprinters Cejhae Greene and Joella Lloyd were slated to run in the nationals. This year’s event would have been the first in four years.