Sun | May 9, 2021

Clubs won’t rule out Euro camp

Published:Tuesday | May 4, 2021 | 12:24 AMDaniel Wheeler/Staff Reporter
Sprintec Track Club athletes Shashalee Forbes (foreground) and Rasheed Dwyer in a training session at the Qatar Sports Club in Doha, Qatar on Tuesday, September 24, 2019.
Sprintec Track Club athletes Shashalee Forbes (foreground) and Rasheed Dwyer in a training session at the Qatar Sports Club in Doha, Qatar on Tuesday, September 24, 2019.
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Sprintec Track Club head coach Maurice Wilson says that he has not ruled out having a training camp based in Europe this year in preparation for the Tokyo Olympics despite challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic. Local track clubs would normally...

Sprintec Track Club head coach Maurice Wilson says that he has not ruled out having a training camp based in Europe this year in preparation for the Tokyo Olympics despite challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Local track clubs would normally move their athletes to the continent for the Diamond League season as well as during a major championship year as they compete in various meets across the world. With the postponement of the Olympics last year, no such Europe-based camp took place with only a few athletes being able to compete there.

Wilson says that despite the travel restrictions, he would not be opposed to moving his group to Europe ahead of the games given specific conditions.

“It is still in our thoughts, even though the cost is extremely high and we are not sure what are the protocols in relation to some of these countries and what is going to be involved,” Wilson told The Gleaner. “[But] it is still high on our agenda that once our athletes qualify for the Olympics, we would want to base them somewhere in Europe just before the Jamaican camp begins (in Tokyo).”

For MVP Track Club President Bruce James, the matter is still a fluid situation in which a final solution has not been made. As a result, he says that decisions have to be made on a weekly basis concerning training and any possible opportunities for meets overseas.

“There are lots of dynamics that are happening,” he said. “We have to make decisions day by day, week by week, in terms of the decisions that we make on the athletes [regarding] competition and their training,” James said.

Local athletes to compete in first diamond league

Four-time world 100m champion Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce and double Olympic sprint champion Elaine Thompson Herah are to compete in the first Diamond League event of the season in Gateshead, England, on May 23. The Muller Anniversary Games in London on July 13 will be the final Diamond League meet before the start of the Olympics on July 23.

Wilson said that his team would need clear guidance on all protocols that would facilitate a European camp, including acquiring the necessary visas for travel and said he would need an updated situation report by June, before any decision is made on the matter.

“There has to be some understanding as to how soon we can get these visas and even if the offices are open for that kind of business, we need to know exactly what is happening just before the first week of June in order to make that kind of decision moving forward,” he said.

When asked about potential disadvantages of not having another Europe-based camp this year, James said that MVP is focused on exploring all avenues regarding getting its athletes prepared for the Games, whether that would mean remaining in Jamaica or overseas.

“We are doing whatever it takes to prepare the athletes to be at their very best,” he said. “We are not going to focus on any of the negatives. So if it means staying in Jamaica, being based somewhere else internationally, whatever we need to do, that is going to have the athletes safe, healthy and completely at their best is what we will do.”

Wilson said remaining at home until the Games would be dependent on the Jamaica Athletics Administrative Association’s ability to stage meets beyond the National Trials, but he was not optimistic about this.

daniel.wheeler@gleanerjm.com