Wed | Oct 21, 2020

Sprintec searching for suitable Euro base

Published:Friday | September 18, 2020 | 12:16 AMDaniel Wheeler/Gleaner Writer
Sprintec Track Club athlete Demish Gaye.
Sprintec Track Club athlete Demish Gaye.
WILSON
WILSON
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Sprintec Track Club head coach Maurice Wilson says that the COVID-19 pandemic will change how he determines a suitable base for its annual European camp for the upcoming season.

The pandemic caused significant changes to the 2020 track and field calendar, resulting in the postponement and cancellation of major Diamond League and World Continental Tour events, as well as the postponement of the Tokyo Olympics from July 2020 to July 2021.

A small number of Jamaican athletes are now in Europe competing before officially ending their seasons. Track clubs normally move their camps to Europe in the summer to compete on the circuit and to sharpen preparations in a major championship year. Wilson says that scouting locations will be critical in 2021, given the uncertainty of the pandemic.

“We would have to find a space that has low numbers if COVID is still around,” Wilson told The Gleaner. “We [must] have access to accessibility in terms of hospitals and medical services. So where we normally stay may not necessarily be the best place.”

While some countries have relaxed restrictions, which has made it possible to hold events, the continent is experiencing a surge in COVID-19 cases in others such as Spain, France, and the UK.

CURRENT BASE

Sports agent Cubie Seegobin says London has been used as the base of operations for his clients, which include Sprintec athletes in a typical European season. Using Brunel University as headquarters, he says that, on average, it would cost US$3,000 (around J$427,000) per athlete for the two-month period.

“We stay at Brunel because I have athletes from several clubs, and that’s what we do. So, we don’t, per se, have a camp,” Seegobin said. “But I have athletes from Racers [Track Club], I have athletes from Sprintec, I have other athletes from other places, so most of my athletes just stay in one place.”

Wilson said that moving the camps early to January would be a big financial undertaking, one that Sprintec may not be able to afford.

With the calendar for the 2021 season still to be determined, Wilson says that any base that is being considered must have medical support as the virus has changed the club’s process.

“We will now have to look around to make sure that wherever we go, it is the place that provides the sort of safety and assistance that we would need,” he said.

daniel.wheeler@gleanerjm.com