By BRENT STUBBS
Senior Sports Reporter
THE T-Bird Flyers are expected to be the first out of the gate for 2021 when they host their Annual Track Classic at the Thomas A Robinson National Stadium on Saturday.
The event, which is expected to be staged without any fanfare, will begin at 9am and will be used as a qualifier for the postponed 2020 CARIFTA Games.
Meet director Foster Dorsett said they are anticipating a great time as athletes get adjusted to the new norm for sports, not just in the Bahamas but around the world.
“The athletes are edgy and excited to get back on the track,” said Dorsett of the meet that comes on the heels of the Bahamas Association of Athletic Associations’ Odd Distance Track Meet on December 19.
“Now that we have permission to have a meet, we will do it without any spectators, but the athletes and coaches are excited to have the first regular track meet. So we are excited about that.”
With the protocol measures in place, Dorsett said they intend to utilise the spacing on the track by using alternate lanes in events such as the 100 and 400 metres, while the distance runners will be limited to the amount of participants in each race.
Unfortunately, Dorsett said they have decided not to stage the 200m, an event that he said normally has an abundance of entries. Instead, he said the focus will be on the 100-400 combo.
In each age group, Dorsett said there will also be a limited amount of events contested so as to not allow the meet to run too late into the evening, considering that there is a national 10pm curfew still in place. “All of the CARIFTA events for the under-17 and under-20 divisions we will have so they can see if they can qualify,” Dorsett said. “We need the coaches to get an understanding of where their kids are. “We usually have a two-day meet, but because of COVID-19, we have to reduce it to one day. “At the Odd Distance, we had about 400 athletes compete, but with all of the clubs indicating that they are going to compete, I’m looking for more than that.” With so much uncertainty over COVID-19 and whether or not the Competent Authority and the Ministry of Health will put a halt to sporting events again, Dorsett said they just want to ensure that the athletes get a chance to compete again. “I’m looking for a real good turnout,” he said. “I wish that we could have some fans so the parents and family members can come out and see what their relatives are doing. “But they can encourage them to come out to the meet and put on a good performance. Hopefully we can get a good start to the new year in this COVID-19 environment.” Athletes will also get a chance to qualify for the other major international meets, including the postponed 2020 Olympic Games, which is being rescheduled for July in Tokyo Japan.