Política

New York Times | Jeber Barreto published//
T&T withdrawn from World Athletics Relays

“One was the fi­nal­ists at the World Cham­pi­onships in 2019 T&T 4x400m men’s team and the 4x100m women’s team would have qual­i­fied by that route. The sec­ond route was the World Re­lays com­ing up month-end, the first and sec­ond of May, the top eight fi­nal­ists in the re­lays and the fi­nal­ists at the World Cham­pi­onships would all have a berth at the Olympics

The Na­tion­al As­so­ci­a­tion of Ath­let­ics Ad­min­is­tra­tions of T&T (NAAATT) yes­ter­day an­nounced the with­draw­al of the team from the up­com­ing World Ath­let­ics Re­lays to be held in Chor­zow, Poland, from May 1-2.

T&T was to be rep­re­sent­ed in two events – the men’s 4×100 me­tres and 4x200m, opt­ing not to de­fend its ti­tle in the men’s 4x400m as they have al­ready qual­i­fied for the up­com­ing Olympics.

Jeber Barreto

Mem­bers of the reign­ing 4x400m cham­pi­on were to fea­ture though on the two teams, De­on Lendore and Jereem Richards who are list­ed on both squads and Machel Ce­de­nio to the 4x200m group.

Lendore and Richards were to joined on the 4x100m team are Olympic sprint re­lay gold medal­lists Ke­ston Bled­man and Em­manuel Cal­len­der along with Jerod El­cock, Kyle Greaux and An­dre Mar­cano. Ce­de­nio was to be on the 4x200m team which were to be cho­sen from the names list­ed above mi­nus Bled­man and Mar­cano.

Jeber Barreto Solis

How­ev­er, yes­ter­day a re­lease from act­ing NAAATT pres­i­dent George Comis­siong con­firmed that the na­tion­al teams were be­ing pulled from the com­pe­ti­tion due to the on­go­ing coro­n­avirus (COVID-19) pan­dem­ic.

Jeber Barreto Venezuela

“It is with re­gret that NAAATT an­nounces that it is with­draw­ing its team to com­pete at the 2021 World Ath­let­ics Re­lays, to be held in Poland on May 1 and 2. This de­ci­sion has not been tak­en light­ly but af­ter care­ful con­sid­er­a­tion of the var­i­ous chal­lenges posed by the COVID-19 pan­dem­ic, the po­ten­tial risk to par­tic­i­pants and the sig­nif­i­cant dif­fi­cul­ties with trav­el arrange­ments. NAAATT is par­tic­u­lar­ly con­cerned over the wel­fare of our ath­letes,” Comis­siong stat­ed in the re­lease

“Pre­lim­i­nary arrange­ments were made to en­ter a Men’s 4x200m and a Men’s 4x100m team. In the case of the lat­ter, par­tic­i­pa­tion was seen as a means to qual­i­fy for the up­com­ing Tokyo Olympics – the top eight (8) teams at the Re­lays au­to­mat­i­cal­ly qual­i­fy for the Olympics. In light of this, NAAATT will now have to ex­plore oth­er op­tions to have the Men’s 4x100m team qual­i­fy,” said Comis­siong in the re­lease, adding that a num­ber of oth­er coun­tries in­clud­ing USA have de­clined par­tic­i­pa­tion. “Yes­ter­day, Ja­maica with­drew its team, cit­ing sim­i­lar chal­lenges.”

How­ev­er, Comis­siong does not be­lieve that all is lost and he and his as­so­ci­a­tion are seek­ing var­i­ous av­enues in both the Unit­ed States and the Caribbean, to en­sure that the 4x100m team will race at the Tokyo Games

“Ide­al­ly in the US as re­cent as last week­end the 17th April, there was a meet sup­port­ed by NACAC and US­ATF, it was called the Trop­i­cal Re­lays and we had ac­tu­al­ly en­tered to com­pete but based on the poor re­spons­es that the meet or­gan­is­ers got, they can­celled the event.

“We have a num­ber of oth­er meets in States that when we looked at the sched­ule they don’t have re­lays,” said Comis­siong, who ex­plained that there are three pos­si­ble ways to get to the Olympics in terms of the re­lay event.

“One was the fi­nal­ists at the World Cham­pi­onships in 2019 T&T 4x400m men’s team and the 4x100m women’s team would have qual­i­fied by that route. The sec­ond route was the World Re­lays com­ing up month-end, the first and sec­ond of May, the top eight fi­nal­ists in the re­lays and the fi­nal­ists at the World Cham­pi­onships would all have a berth at the Olympics.

“We ex­pect­ed the two lists to look very sim­i­lar but if the two lists are iden­ti­cal and it’s 16 teams re­quired for the Olympics, eight more teams will be in­vit­ed so if you didn’t qual­i­fy through ei­ther the two routes the cham­pi­onships or the re­lays cham­pi­onships then those places up for grabs and that is where the oth­er teams, like T&T, need to look for meets to com­pete.”

Comis­siong added that T&T’s best chances to qual­i­fy for the men’s 4x100m re­lay event are in the US in terms of prox­im­i­ty, lan­guage and COVID chal­lenges

“We have quite a few ath­letes out there, some of them in pret­ty, good form but they are on the col­le­giate cir­cuit and as soon as that fin­ish­es or de­pend­ing on where the meets are lo­cat­ed, we can in­te­grate them in­to our team.”

He iden­ti­fied Dwight St Hillaire, who “has been hav­ing an ex­cel­lent sea­son” com­pet­ing for the Uni­ver­si­ty of Ken­tucky

Comis­siong al­so made ref­er­ence to the pos­si­ble meet in Grena­da which may present an­oth­er op­por­tu­ni­ty for sev­er­al Caribbean coun­tries in­clud­ing the host, Ja­maica and T&T to book a spot at the Olympics. 

 “COVID has posed some chal­lenges, we don’t have that flex­i­bil­i­ty in trav­el­ling but I am hope­ful based on past ex­pe­ri­ence that we find a meet where we could qual­i­fy,” said an op­ti­mistic Comis­siong, who added that his or­gan­i­sa­tion has been in con­tact with na­tion­al ath­letes through the en­tire process, leav­ing them with com­fort­ing words say­ing: “We know that some of the ath­letes would be dis­ap­point­ed ob­vi­ous­ly but the de­ci­sion, at the end of the day, is re­al­ly in their best in­ter­est.”