Edwin Allen wins Champs 2019

Jamaican track and field coaches have put forward several proposals regarding the hosting of Champs 2021.

Tasked with helping to find a way for the staging of Champs 2021, the coaches proposed modifications on Format; Schedule and dates; Qualification System; National Performance Ranking among other things.

Below are the modifications proposed by the coaches’ group.

Proposed Modifications (A La Carte) ISSA/ Grace Kennedy Boys & Girls Athletics Championships 2021

Thursday, October 1, 2020


The following proposal reflects the result of a national consultation with Track and Field coaches through meetings held on September 26 and 29, 2020. The modifications are presented as “A La Carte” across 4 main areas, which are Format, Schedule, Qualification and Competition.

Format Modification Options

  1. 1. Keep the Championships as Boys and Girls Combined over 5 days a. Organizers put all the necessary systems & protocols in place to minimize the risk of contracting the infection by all persons
  2. b. Fully implementing the already accepted Best Practices in Track and Field Competitions held during COVID-19 including sanitizing starting blocks, batons, landing pits, implements and Officials wearing masks
  3. c. Place greater emphasis on Spectators enjoying the Meet from home across the world and significantly reduce the number of tickets sold. This may require ISSA to renegotiate the Broadcasting Rights Contract to allow them to earn a greater portion of the distribution of the content.
    1. 2. Keep the Championships as Boys and Girls Combined over 6 days a. The Championship running from Monday to Saturday
    2. b. Separate days for preliminaries, alternate days. Monday & Wednesday for Girls Prelims and Semi-Finals, Tuesday and Thursday for Boys Prelims and Semi-Finals. Friday for Girls Finals and Saturday for Boys Finals.
      1. 3. Two separate championships, 2 separate weekends a. 4 days Girls Champs then 4 days Boys champs. i. Schedule as normal as possible with shorter days.

Schedule & Date Modification Options

1. Move the meet to the 3rd week of April. [19th – 24th]. a. This will be to ensure an adequate preparation period for the student athletes.

b. Regional Meets can then be scheduled for the end of March first weekend in April.

c. Spread the finals across all days and de-emphasize “Champs Saturday”.

    1. 2. Increase the duration of the championships to six (6) Days a. Reasoning behind this is to mitigate crowd control and handling.
    2. b. The current curfew restrictions require curtailed travel during certain hours.
    1. 3. Separate Competition Days or Sessions for Girls and Boys a. Alternating Days (Day 1 Girls, Day 2 Boys etc.)
    2. b. Alternating Sessions (Morning, Evening etc.)

Qualification System Modification Options

    1. 1. Regional Championships to be used as Automatic Qualification (Q). a. Throwback to the zonal elimination meets that were used for Girls championships earlier.
      1. b. Top finishers / finalists from Regional meets. i. Top eight (8) finishers plus next eight (8) best times nationally for sprint; 100m, 200m and 400m.
      2. ii. Top six (6) finishers plus next six (6) best times nationally for 800m and 1500m
      3. iii. Top eighteen (18) best times nationally for 2000m Steeplechase, 3000m, 5000m events
      4. iv. Top thirty-two (32) best times nationally for Relays including the Medley
    2. v. Top 24 for Jumps and Throws a) This may also be subject to minimum qualifying standards to ensure and preserve the quality of the competition.

2. Qualifying Standards for 2021 a. Increase the Qualifying Standards for all events.

b. Abolish the ‘B’ Standard.

c. Increase the size of the Technical Committee by 4 to facilitate a complete review of the standards. Engage additional experience from Throws, Jumps, Middle & Long Distance

    1. 3. National Performance Ranking System for 2021 a. Suspend qualifying standards
      1. b. Establish a weekly ranking system for all events. i. Rankings updated, vetted, and published weekly.
      2. ii. Rankings can be managed by the JAAA who already processes and reports all results in Jamaica to World Athletics
      3. c. Use the top thirty-two (32) ranked athletes as qualifiers for Track Events i. Each school declare top 3; two entries and one reserve.
      1. d. Use the top twenty-four (24) ranked athletes as qualifiers for Field Events (Jumps & Throws) i. Each school declare top 3; two entries and one reserve

Competition Modification Options

      1. 1. Adjust the competition schedule to spread the finals on different days. a. E.g. Monday to Wednesday to be used for preliminaries. Thursday to Saturday for finals i. 100m finals on Day 2. 1. Could be used as a marketing ploy to ensure engagement on Pay Per View online platforms.
      2. b. Relay finals not scheduled for the same day, meaning the final day as it is now scheduled. i. Current format used by World Athletics for major championships.
      3. c. Fewer number of rounds of competition for events. i. The reduction in the number of preliminaries will contribute greatly to this.

2. Once an athlete is eliminated and has not further opportunity to participate in the Championships then they should leave the stadium. a. Transportation to the nearest point organized by teams. This may be supported by the organizers / sponsors

    1. 3. Athlete management by teams during competition. a. Each school would need to create a “Bubble” which would have approved guidelines and protocols.
    1. 4. Establish different points of entry and exit a. Athletes
    2. b. Team Officials
    3. c. Meet Management Officials


Whatever the option(s) selected; it is evident that the Championships can be held in some format. We hope that in balancing the concerns of direct and indirect stakeholders that the concern for the long term physical and psychological development of the student-athletes is kept at center focus. JATAFCA stands ready as a resource to aid in the discourse and discussions.

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  1. Great homework done by our HS coaches.
    The suggestions are all ideas which have been instituted elsewhere, so we don’t really have to ‘recreate a wheel’…
    The problem really is still the uncertainty of Jamaica’s control of COVID, which makes concrete forward planning difficult. Champs could end up being a meet for only the well resourced schools, who are able to manage a ‘safe’ training program to adequately prepare athletes for Champs.
    For perspective, there was a time when Champs training began in January for late March/early April Champs…


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