…World Athletics issues guidelines for return to Track and FieldBy Rawle Toney WITH World Athletics over the weekend publishing health and safety guidelines to assist competition organisers to minimise the risk of spreading coronavirus when staging in-stadium outdoor events during the current pandemic, the Athletics Association of Guyana said they are not only ready to comply with the track and field’s governing body, but is ready to put whatever is needed in place to see the sport’s return locally. The guidelines, drafted by World Athletics’ Health and Science Department, also address the post-peak period, as described by the World Health Organization (WHO) and are based on scientific and medical knowledge of the virus responsible for Covid-19.The document offers guidance for professional athletes, support staff, technical officials, workforce, volunteers, medical staff and media. Although it doesn’t include guidelines regarding spectators, the WHO has produced a document and risk-assessment tools for mass gatherings.Aubrey Hutson – AAG presidentCompetition organisers are advised to undertake a four-point risk assessment for all accredited attendants. If an individual scores two or higher, it is recommended that they should undergo a medical clearance protocol before the event.“Our plan is to comply with the guidelines set out by World Athletics and our local health ministry.The AAG will source the necessary protective gears for our officials and observe all other protocols in preparation for local competition. We must do this to protect our athletes and officials,” AAG president Aubrey Hutson told Chronicle Sport.Hutson noted that the AAG is “humbly hoping for early August,” to see track and field return in Guyana.Meanwhile, in the guidelines sent to the respective member associations, World Athletics said that organisers should provide a welcome bag that includes single-use masks (three per day, minimum), bottles of hand sanitizer, disinfectant wipes, and a leaflet to explain the health and safety protocols for that particular event.World Athletics also recommended that spectators and accredited personnel should have two completely separate entrances and the flows should not cross.Accredited personnel should only be granted access to the competition venue if wearing a face mask and with their personal hand sanitizer.Face masks should be worn by everyone in the stadium, with the exception of athletes when warming up or competing in their event.Warm-up zones should be large open-air areas within a short walking distance of the competition stadium, and access to it should be strictly controlled. Athletes should be invited to enter the warm-up area following a specific timetable. All accredited personnel should wear a mask and wash their hands before entering warm-up zones or dedicated toilets.Masks should also be worn in call rooms, which should be arranged in an outdoor location. It is also mandatory to disinfect chairs between each use.IN COMPETITIONThe number of people on the field of play should be kept to a minimum, and officials who will be coming into close contact with athletes should wear protective glasses or a plastic face shield, in addition to their mask.Once athletes have crossed the finish line, they should try to keep their distance from the public and officials, where possible, until they collect their belongings from the call room.SPECIFIC GUIDELINES FOR INDIVIDUAL DISCIPLINESAs it relates to on-field, World Athletics said starting blocks should be cleaned between each race and chlorine should be added to the water jump for the steeplechase.Relay batons should be cleaned between each use, and relay teams should be discouraged from gathering or hugging after a race, while the use of hand sanitizer should be recommended before each attempt in vertical jumps.Officials, the sport’s governing body said, should clean the landing mat between each jump, using a mop and veridical solution or use a thin layer of recyclable plastic or tissue that can be placed on the jumping mat. Sand in jumping pits should be mixed with a solution that contains biodegradable and non-skin-aggressive virucide agent.Officials who handle throwing implements should clean their hands or use disposable gloves after each handling and in combined events, the room used by athletes to recover between disciplines should be open-air, if possible.Coaches should be encouraged to interact with their athletes using electronic devices.AFTER COMPETITIONThe Media mixed zones, World Athletics stated, should also be outside, if possible, and the number of people in the area should be kept to a minimum.A plexiglass screen should be placed between the athletes and the media, and cleaned after each interview, and separate interview boxes should be used if there are multiple positions. Without screens, a safety dead zone of three metres should be adopted when journalists interview athletes, and masks should be used by both parties.To keep the number of people on the field of play to a minimum, live award ceremonies are not recommended, but alternative digital solutions are encouraged.Once the competition has concluded, a thorough disinfection procedure should be undertaken.
JOCKEY QUOTESDRAYDEN VAN DYKE, S Y SKY, WINNER: “Phil told me she’s fast, but she can be tactical also. We broke sharp, but I was able to take her back and she finished really well.”FLAVIEN PRAT, BELVOIR BAY, SECOND: “Turning for home, I didn’t think she could get beat. The winner was just too much.”TRAINER QUOTESPHILIP D’AMATO, S Y SKY, WINNER:“I thought she was doing well, but I’ve got to give the credit to Drayden Van Dyke. She popped on top and she was in control, but Drayden realized the top two were really smoking so he eased her back and that was the winning move. We’re looking forward to campaigning her the rest of the year.”OWNER QUOTESNICK ALEXANDER, S Y SKY, WINNER: “I knew if she caught Belvoir Bay at the top of the lane she would out-finish her, I was sure of that. Her last race at Golden Gate, Flavien rode her and he made a huge move in the turn going for home and he said, ‘This filly has a huge turn of foot,’ and the secret after that was just keep her busy. She prefers the outside. Last time that she was beaten, she was down on the inside and she got caught. I thought it was perfect. A perfect ride and a perfect result.“She’s made over half a million bucks in just Cal-bred races, she’s out of a mare that I claimed from A.C. Avila at Del Mar about seven years ago for sixteen thousand bucks. Everyone in her family has been a winner, we just get lucky sometimes.”“I’ve won Grade three’s, I’ve won Cal-Bred stakes races, If I live long enough maybe I’ll get that Grade one.“Isn’t she something? We almost retired her and bred her. It was close, it was a coin flip. She’s been so good to us. I’ll have to ask Phil what’s next because to tell you the truth, we didn’t plan beyond this race. I’m just so thrilled.“When Belvoir Bay was a 3-year-old, Enola Gray was a 3-year-old as well and we were both entered in the Torrey Pines at Del Mar. We had to scratch Enola because of a cough. Belvoir Bay obviously won that race but I’ve been trying to beat her ever since then. This was the first time we’ve actually caught her.“You don’t know about the time because it’s dirt from the turf and deeper, but I’ve never seen her better than this. It’s so cool.“She broke her maiden going six and-a-half and then the Melair at a mile and-a-sixteenth but when we tried her on the grass she seemed to take to it so we’ve always tried her on that but several times we’ve had rain and come off of it. She can run on dirt so what the hell but I still think that she’s a better grass horse.“She’s big and strong and I think she’s about 1,175 pounds and tall, long legs. She’s got a big stride, and she’s just a cool horse. Nothing bothers her. I’d love to have more like her.”NOTES: The winning owner/breeder is Nicholas B. Alexander, who resides in Los Angeles.Nick Alexander’s S Y Sky and jockey Drayden Van Dyke win the Grade II, $200,000 Monrovia Stakes, Sunday, May 26, 2019 at Santa Anita Park, Arcadia CA. © BENOIT PHOTO