By Clayton Clarke, TrackAlerts.Com Writer
Several Caribbean Olympic Committees are upset over the changes in the Pan American Games standards for the track and field events, as issued by the organizers. The Games set new barriers in an attempt to reduce the amount of track and field athletes to 680. Based on the original standards, set more than a year ago, more than 1,100 qualified athletes qualified for the quadrennial hemispheric Games.
An earlier Trackalerts story reported that eight Jamaican athletes are set to lose their spots on the country’s team, while six Trinidad and Tobago competitors are in jeopardy of not competing in Toronto. Media reports suggest that six US Virgin Islands and nine British Virgin Islands team-members, could be left at home.
According to a story on the US Virgin Daily News posted on July 1, the USVI Track and Field Federation contacted the Association of Pan American Athletics, via email, in response to the changes. “The unilateral change in qualification standards by the host local organizing committee is unacceptable. It challenges the host country’s integrity and its commitment to our Pan Am sporting family. What assurance can the host country now offer all participating countries that administrative rules, housing arrangements, competition standards and travel, transportation and meal arrangements would not be subject to further unilateral change?”
The email added that USVI athletic body is calling on the host country to “return to the initial standards, agreements and arrangements it expressed over the last Pan Am cycle.” V.I. Olympic Committee (VIOC) President Angel Morales lamented that the Pan Am Games organizers waited too long to notify athletes of the change in standards.
Vice-President of the Antigua and Barbuda Athletic Association, Calvin Greenaway told the Daily Observer that country may be forced to reduced its nine member team to the Games. Greenaway said the change in standards will affect the country’s preparation.
“There is a hold on everything at the moment and we just waiting to hear what the next move is going to be. We have to continue buying tickets which are getting more expensive. It (the situation) is messing up everybody’s budgeting.”
President of the North American, Central American and Caribbean (NACAC) athletic body, Victor Lopez of Puerto Rico said the over-quota subscription reflects how strong the Pan Am region in track and field.
President of the the Central American and Caribbean (CAC) Athletic organization, Alain Jena Pierre of Haiti called the change unfair and inadmissible, as arrangements were already in place by some federations and Olympic committees to travel to Toronto at the time of the release of the new standards.
“The Federations, the NOCs (National Olympic Committees) went through a lot of sacrifices and with the help of PASO, spent a lot of money preparing the athletes and buying their plane tickets.”