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Meet suffers from lack of athletes


EZRA STUART

Meet suffers from lack of athletes

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THE 2014 track and field season got off to a false start last Saturday.
The Athletics Association of Barbados’ (AAB) development meet, which featured odd distance and field events, was staged at both the National Stadium and Harrison College (HC).
Originally, the entire programme was slated for the HC ground but there was a late change and the track events, as well as the long jump, were switched to the Stadium.
Surprisingly, it was decided that the discus and shot put events would still be held at Harrison College.
This meant that some spectators and coaches who had athletes competing at both locations would have been divided on whether to go to Crumpton Street or Waterford, where there were just a few spectators.
A similar development meet is scheduled for Combermere School on Saturday from 10 a.m. and the AAB must really rethink its marketing and promotion strategy, as well as its relationship with clubs and coaches for future meets to attract more athletes and spectators.
While it is early days, the absence of athletes from clubs like Quantum Leap, High Performance, Pacers, Foundation United, Freedom Striders and several schools, such as perennial girls’ queens Springer Memorial, was noticeable.
Rising Stars, who were represented by several Under-11 and Under-13 athletes and competitors in other age groups, Elite Distance Programme, BC Trac, The Lodge School, the BCT Team and Trident must be congratulated for saving the day.
Clubs and athletes must remember that these developmental meets are being staged by the Athletics Association?for their benefit and they owe it to the association to participate and prepare their athletes once they have been properly notified in a timely matter.
Of course, there will be legitimate reasons for absences, ranging from injuries to school commitments, but it shouldn’t be business as usual when there is only one or two and, in some cases, no athletes entered for particular events.
The upshot of this is that races and events in different age groups had to be merged, forcing athletes to compete against older or younger colleagues.
A full report and photos of Saturday’s action at the Stadium was carried in the SUNDAY SUN. Following is a summary of the field events held at Harrison College.
Romario Antoine made a commendable start to his year with a throw of 43.85 metres to win the Under-20 Boys’ discus from his BC Trac clubmate Daryl Sobers (42.14) and Deighton Griffith’s Dario Sobers (36.25).
However, Antoine managed only 12.93 metres and had to settle for third place in the shot put, which was won by Elite Distance’s Dequan Lovell with 13.18 metres from Dario Sobers (13.10).
Kemar Holder-Edghill won the Men’s Open discus and shot put with distances of 43.32 and 13.01 metres, respectively.
Akil Simon won the Under-18 Boys’ discus (36.05) and shot put (11.86 metres) while Keron Lopez (9.80) and Shawn Raphael (15.41) won the Under-15 Boys’ shot put and discus, respectively.
Elite Distance’s Ashley Williams was the lone competitor in the Open Women’s shot put and her best effort was 13.65 metres. Dayna Francis of Elite Distance was also the sole competitor in the Women’s Open discus and threw 28.18 metres.
Ellerslie’s Amanda Knight was the only entrant in the Under-18 Girls’ shot put and discus and naturally won both events with 9.03 and 21.80 metres, respectively.
One expects an exciting year for track and field, especially with the Barbados Secondary Schools Athletic Championships (BSSAC) and the National Primary Schools Athletic Championship coming back on stream after last year’s cancellation because the National Stadium wasn’t available.
Schools are already taking about the annual Relay Fair, slated for the National Stadium on February 15, followed by the Louis Lynch Championships on February 22 and 23.
As usual, the athletes will be targeting the CARIFTA Games, scheduled to be held this year in Martinique from April 19-21.
The CARIFTA Trials are slated for March 8 and 9 at the National Stadium, ahead of the BSSAC preliminaries from March 19 to 21 and the finals on March 27 and 28.

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