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Saturday, August 1, 2020

amidst Covid chaos .. .. ..... athletics events are on

July 2020 is drawing to a close ! ~ from Mar 24, the Nation is under lockdown – what will happen from 1st Aug.  The situation has not improved at all.  Some of us have remained at home abiding by the Govt regulations, but vast majority of population as seen in Chennai is out there on the roads, crowding everywhere and the nos. are going up, up and up.

In a bid to curb the rise of Covid-19 cases, Coimbatore district collector has announced  that there will be a complete lockdown in the district from 5 pm on July 25 till 6 am on July 27. “In this lockdown period, only essential services like health care, milk distribution, electricity will be allowed. Uzhavar sandhai (Farmer’s market), markets, trade or other firms, grocery stores, fish stall, flower market, meat shops, tasmac liquor outlets will remain closed,” the statement read.  The situation is indeed threatening.  Tamil Nadu recorded its highest single-day count for the second consecutive day with 6,785 fresh cases reported in the state on Friday. With this, the state Covid-19 tally has risen to 1,99,749. Among these, Chennai reported 1299 positive cases, bringing the city’s total to 92,206. Tamil Nadu recorded 88 deaths on Friday, putting the state toll at 3320. 82 of them had succumbed due to comorbidities.

Away from all these, some sporting activities are on.  While many of you would have watched Cricket action, did we care to read about athletics ?    At Manchester, in the 3rd Test England were 258 for 4 (Pope 91*, Buttler 56*, Burns 57).  A steadying innings from Ollie Pope rescued England in the face of some threatening West Indies bowling early on the opening day of the series-deciding Test at Emirates Old Trafford. At the close of play, and with rain expected to feature heavily on Saturday, Pope was unbeaten just nine runs shy of his century with England 258 for 4 after they had been 47 for 2 before lunch and 92 for 3 after the break.

The friendship and rivalry of Viv Richards and Ian Botham will be commemorated in a new series trophy when England next face West Indies in Test cricket, after the ECB and CWI agreed that the Wisden Trophy will be retired at the end of this week's third Test. The new Richards-Botham Trophy will pay tribute to two greats of the game "whose rivalry and friendship embodies the close relationship and mutual respect between the two sides", said the two boards in a joint press release. Richards and Botham played alongside one another before they met on the international stage, with their first joint appearance coming in Botham's first-class debut for Somerset against Lancashire in May 1974. In all, the two men faced each other on 20 occasions in Test cricket, from Botham's captaincy debut at Trent Bridge in 1980 to Richards' final Test at The Oval in 1991.  

Four years back at Rio, as the globe waited, it was predictably Usain Bolt, the Jamaican  again crowned the fastest man on globe finishing at 9.81 seconds in 100M dash.  Justin Gatlin of US finished next with 9.89S;  Andre De Grasse, Canada, 9.91; Yohan Blake, Jamaica, 9.93; Akani Simbine, South Africa, 9.94; Ben Youssef Meite, Cote d’Ivoire, 9.96 – all finishing under 10 seconds and then Jimmy Vicaut of France, 10.04;  followed by Trayvon Bromell of US at 10.06 seconds.  In the women section, Elaine Thompson of Jamaica won gold in 100M sprint with 10.71 seconds finish (under 10 has never been run by any women anywhere !); Tori Bowie of US 10.83 and much expected Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce of Jamaica coming third at 10.86 seconds.

By now, you would have noticed the dominance of Jamaica in sprint.    6th Aug is the day of Independence for this island nation.  They can say with pride once again that the fastest Man and woman on earth hail from their country.  It is a place which has produced Steve Bucknor, the Umpire, Cricketers -  Chris Gayle, Courtney Walsh, George Headley, Michael Holding amongst other famous people from the island.  

Jamaica is an island country situated in the Caribbean Sea, consisting of the third-largest island of the Greater Antilles. The island, 10,990 square kilometres (4,240 sq mi) in area, lies about 145 kilometres (90 mi) south of Cuba.  Inhabited by the indigenous Arawak and Taíno peoples, the island came under Spanish rule following the arrival of Christopher Columbus in 1494. Many of the indigenous people died of disease, and the Spanish imported African slaves as labourers. Named Santiago, it remained a possession of Spain until 1655, when England (later Great Britain) conquered the island and renamed it Jamaica. Under British colonial rule, Jamaica became a leading sugar exporter, with its plantation economy highly dependent on slaves imported from Africa. Jamaica is a Commonwealth realm, with Queen Elizabeth II as its monarch and head of state. The island Nation Jamaica slowly gained increasing independence from the United Kingdom and in 1958, it became a province in the Federation of the West Indies, a federation among the British West Indies. Jamaica attained full independence by leaving the federation in 1962 – that was on 6th  August 1962.

In Kingston, Jamaica, in Sept 1999,  the MVP Track and Field Club was established to provide Jamaican athletes a local option for post high school track and field training. The goal was to prove that Jamaican athletes, with Jamaican coaches, Jamaican facilities and Jamaican management, could be the very best in the world of Athletics.  Now in Covid 19 circumstances they had conducted a track and field meet.  Following on the success of  first track and field meet held in Jamaica since the onset of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic in March, the MVP Track Club will make some adjustments, mainly on the start time, if it were to get permission to stage another meet at the Jamaica College's Ashenheim Stadium in Kingston.  The President of MVP Track Club, told the Jamaica Observer that the club would push the start time back by two hours in an attempt to get better competition conditions for the sprinters who battled strong headwinds last weekend.

Despite running into a headwind, reigning World Champion Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce got off to a fast opening in her delayed start to the track and field season, running a world-leading 11.00 seconds (-2.2m/s) to win the women's 100m at Saturday's Velocity Fest 2020 at Jamaica College. “Because of the strong negative winds that the athletes experienced in the sprints we are hoping to receive approval for the meet to be run later in the day,” James said.

“The number one priory in getting permission from the various government ministries to allow us to stage this meet was the health and welfare of the athletes, the coaches and the officials,” James said. “As such we had to follow very strict protocols as outlined by the Ministry of Health and Wellness under the Disaster Risk Management Act order number 9, which came into effect on July 1.”  The meet was held behind closed doors with only athletes, coaches and other officials being allowed into the venue with spectators and the media being locked out.  The Organisers said, “Everybody entering the Ashenheim Stadium had to wear a mask had to be sanitised and had to be temperature-checked. After that we had a situation where the athletes, when they were warming up or competing, were then allowed to remove their masks.”

While Jamaican track and field super-star Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce returned to competition clocking  a world-leading time of 11.00 seconds running into -2.2 m/s headwind, there is something for Indians too.  The  Women's 100m Results (wind: -2.2)
1 Fraser-Pryce, Shelly-Ann Nike 11.00
2 Forbes, Shashalee Sprintec 11.49
3 Strachan, Anthonique Mvp 11.84
4 Nanda, Srabani Mvp 11.88

Ace Indian sprinter Srabani Nanda has become the first Indian track and field athlete to participate in a competition amid the COVID-19 pandemic, running in that  meet in Jamaica alongside some of the world's best. The 29-year-old Nanda competed in the 100m race at the Velocity Fest meeting at Jamaica College representing the MVP Track club. She won heat two in 11.78 seconds for a third-place finish overall. Apart from Nanda, the Velocity Fest also had double Olympic sprint champion Elaine Thompson and Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce competing.  Fraser-Pryce, representing Nike, won the women's 200m in 22.74 seconds. Former 100m world champion Yohan Blake won the men's 200m in 20.62 seconds. Nanda has a personal best of 11.45 in 100m and 23.07 in 200m. She took part in the 2016 Olympics and finished sixth in her heat. She was part of the bronze winning 4x100m relay quartet in the 2017 Asian Championships. She had also won a 200m gold and a 100m silver in the 2016 South Asian Games.

Interesting !

With regards – S. Sampathkumar

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