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AAA: Only best will do


Sherrylyn A. Toppin

AAA: Only best will do

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Athletes, especially the juniors, are being urged to show their best as the 2012 athletics season gets underway tomorrow morning.
Esther Maynard, president of the Amateur Athletic Association (AAA), told WEEKEND SPORT it was going to be an expensive year with the CARIFTA Games in Bermuda, and of course, getting the senior athletes full preparation for the London Olympic Games.
“With no major regional championships in athletics or games, the preparation of our Olympic athletes will be a challenge, but not insurmountable,” she pointed out.
With a full slate of calendar events starting with the Field Events and Relays on Saturday morning through to the National Championships in June, Maynard said the association had budgeted to send the senior athletes who need more competition to meets in Puerto Rico as well as the internationals in Guadeloupe and Martinique.
“So far, we have seen six athletes whose performances [last year] are a good indication that they should be able to maintain and repeat the form that they have shown us,” she said.
“There are others that you can’t count out that have been close or have been there before.”
The six are hurdlers Ryan Brathwaite, Shane Brathwaite and Kierre Beckles, as well as sprinters Ramon Gittens, Andrew Hinds and Shakera Reece, who met the Olympic qualifying standard in the 100 metres last year.
Sprinter Jade Bailey went to Beijing 2008 but her status is unknown, while high jumpers Henderson Dottin and Thorrold Murray can’t be counted out.
Declining to put a figure on the budget, Maynard said the AAA would be working with the National Sports Council, the Barbados Olympic Association and other partners to get it done.
Junior athletes also won’t be left out, and CARIFTA will be a major expense, with the team having to be routed through New York.
“Athletes would have to work very hard because they would have to be showing really good form. That would be their challenge in trying to reach the standards that have been set,” she said.
The standards are being reviewed and may be changed.
“We have always had an ‘A’ and ‘B’ standard where the ‘B’ standard is discretionary, so I would advise athletes to aim for the ‘A’ standard because in a year where the competition is so far away, athletes have to show us, as it were, the mettle they are made of,” Maynard said.
“We are not going to put a number on it [the qualifiers].
“If you fall short, we are not going to bulk it up with athletes who haven’t made the standard and if you find that athletes rise to the occasion, you will have to look to find the additional resources to carry the athletes who have qualified.”

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