The Ministry of Youth, Sports and Culture has decided to postpone the 2020 Bahamas National High School Track and Field Championships that actually got underway yesterday morning at the Thomas A. Robinson National Stadium. As the news broke, athletes were literally pulled off the track.
The meet was scheduled to continue today and end tomorrow. However, it was postponed during the 100 meters (m) dash preliminaries yesterday morning as a precautionary measure against the threat of the Coronavirus (COVID-19).
Director of Sports in the Ministry of Youth, Sports and Culture Timothy Munnings said they are acting on behalf of the government of The Bahamas.
“The government of The Bahamas met over the last few days, and overnight, they decided it was in the best interest of the athletes and everyone involved to shut down the races,” Munnings said.
The meet was highly anticipated as schools from islands all over The Bahamas were getting ready to showcase their talents.
Munnings said that it was a great turnout yesterday and he had anticipated the crowd getting bigger as the three-day meet went on.
Bahamas Association of Athletic Associations (BAAA) President Drumeco Archer said that he is disappointed that the meet was postponed.
“This is a very unique meet for the country,” Archer said. “This is the only time that we get to see the showcase among athletes who are CARIFTA contenders and contenders in years to come. We will not have that opportunity and I am most disappointed.”
Archer said that he saw the 100m heat and he was looking forward to the finals last night.
“I was disappointed in the postponement and that is separate and apart from the cause. The mere fact that it is being postponed is disappointing to many of us,” Archer said.
Munnings said he doesn’t know if or when the meet will continue, as it is difficult to be determined.
“Until we can have a better way to control this, it’s difficult to say when any sporting event can happen,” Munnings said. “Large gatherings seem to be increasing the potential exposure for everyone. Daily we will be assessing the spread of this virus that will impact everyone around the globe.”
Archer said it will be a challenge to stage the event later because it is a once-per-year event.
“Athletes from all over the country come to New Providence to compete. Unfortunately, they pay for their own travel. I can’t imagine that you will get the full support from those islands coming back to New Providence,” Archer said.
As for the athletes and team officials who came with their respective teams, Munnings said the ministry will house them and feed them and will do its best to get them home safe and quickly.