The coach of many-time high school champions Edwin Allen admits the cancellation of the event has come as a hammer blow to both himself and his athletes. Breaking with several of his colleagues, however, the coach believes the move was necessary in the face of the global pandemic.

President of the Inter-Secondary Schools Sports Association (ISSA) Keith Wellington has insisted the decision to cancel this year's Boys' and Girls championship was taken carefully and with several considerations.  Several disgruntled coaches, however, have vehemently disagreed.

The 2020 ISSA/GraceKennedy Boys and Girls Championships have been cancelled because of the COVID-19 virus that has been categorized as a pandemic by the World Health Organisation (WHO).

The cancellation comes on the heels of Tuesday’s announcement that a Jamaican woman tested positive for the virus after arriving on the island on March 4.

Stakeholders of the 110-year-old championships - the Inter-secondary Schools Sports Association (ISSA), sponsors GraceKennedy, the Ministry of Education and Ministry of Health – met Wednesday to determine the fate of the championships that like many other sporting events, were being threatened by the spread of the virus that has infected more than 121,000 people globally and killing over 4000.

On Tuesday, there was an indication that the championships were under threat of being cancelled when the organisers agreed to cancel the launch of five-day event that was to be held at the National Stadium in Kingston.

“We agreed that the appropriate measure at this time would be to postpone tomorrow’s launch, and proceed with further discussions about what action should be taken in terms of the actual event,” said ISSA President, Keith Wellington, who also revealed that was also in discussion with its associated sponsors.

 Title sponsors also took a position that suggested that a cancellation was the most appropriate measure to take that would be in the best interests of all concerned.

 “The Health Ministry has announced that infection prevention and control is a priority at this time,” said GraceKennedy Group CEO, Don Wehby in a statement Tuesday.

 “We take COVID-19 very seriously and are concerned about the health and wellness of the student-athletes and all involved in the execution of Champs, as well as the implications for the 35,000 persons in attendance at the National Stadium especially during the last two days. This is a decision we will be making in the nation’s best interest.”

 

 

Jamaica will not be sending athletes to the annual Penn Relays in Philadelphia out of concern for the safety of its athletes, who run the risk of being exposed to the deadly COVID-19 virus, Jamaica's health minister announced on Tuesday.

President of the Inter Secondary-Schools Sports Association Keith Wellington believes that until overseas athletes directly affect the outcome of the ISSA Boys and Girls track and field championships, his association won’t be perturbed by the influx of the numbers.

Wellington was speaking on The Commentators podcast with Ricardo Chambers and Donald Oliver.

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