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Better organised meets promised

SherryLyn A. Toppin

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BOTHERED BY late starts and long delays between races, the Photo Finish crew will be aiming to improve the overall running of meets to the satisfaction of athletes and spectators for the 2010 to 2011 athletics season.In an interview with NATIONSPORT earlier this week, crew chief Leroy Harper said they had identified some concerns during last season and he would be seeking a meeting with Esther Maynard, president of the Amateur Athletic Association (AAA).Harper said one of the main challenges was the lack of officials to work during meets and that was impacting on the check-in area, especially.His crew, which includes Vasco Dash, Andrea Greenidge-Nicholls, Julia Husbands, André Brathwaite, Tyson Davis, Ryan Toppin, Wayne Robinson and Natasha Greenidge were also expected to do the check in as well as the photo finish. Harper observed that when Andrew Brathwaite handled check-in, it ran flawlessly, but Brathwaite wasn’t always available. That area and the call room needed about 16 officials, but they never have that amount.Drawing an example from the CARIFTA Games, Harper said all entries and information had to be submitted early so it could be put into the database, changes were discussed at the technical meeting and made, then the database was set. This meant that there were no last-minute changes or race delays.“At local meets, we have a technical meeting, but then we still have people making requests to add people, remove people, for numbers, programmes and schedules of events. They don’t come prepared,” Harper said.He also drew a comparison with the Penn Relay in the United States.“People had to strip down long before they reached the starter. Here, we come in full gear, have to strip down and set the blocks. If they were overseas, they would’ve had to strip down already and it would be up to them to keep warm.“We had a situation where some athletes missed finals because they didn’t check in. We are practising our athletes badly from at home and when they go to an international event, they miss it because they didn’t check in,” Harper observed.“We have athletes who qualify and don’t check in. They don’t follow protocol and are carrying those habits to regional meets and not getting into finals because they fail to check in.”In an effort to reduce the amount of time wasted each week, Harper said they would no longer be accepting late entries; they would ensure the coaches had all of the information they needed well in advance; schedules would be published on the inter-school website if that of the AAA was not operating and all of the necessary files would be posted there.In addition, he will be staging a few workshops before the new season begins to make sure all of the club coaches and managers are familiar with the meet manager system so the entries could be submitted electronically.Ultimately, Harper and his crew want to be professional and they will be seeking more training.

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