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Athletics
Saturday, August 01, 2020
Panam Sports Athlete Commission Looking for Rule 50 Resolution

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As the Olympic Movement continues to cope with the unprecedented situations brought on by the Covid-19 pandemic, the Panam Sports Athlete Commission is increasing its commitment to elevate the athlete's voice.

On July 9, the Athlete Commission organized an in-depth and important virtual discussion among athlete leaders of the Americas. The purpose of this meeting was to not only provide an update about anti-doping procedures and navigating the pandemic, but also engage the athlete community in a deeper discussion regarding peaceful protests at the Pan American and Olympic Games.

The meeting featured 68 athlete leaders from 38 out of the 41 countries of the Pan American Family, Vice President of the International Olympic Committee Athletes’ Commission Danka Bartekova, as well as World Anti-Doping Agency Athlete Committee Chairman Ben Sandford and Director of Latin America Maria Jose Pesce. Panam Sports President Neven Ilic and Secretary-General Ivar Sisniega also welcomed and spoke to the athletes during this pivotal meeting.

The two-and-a-half-hour meeting led by Athlete Commission President Aliann Pompey was headlined by the intriguing conversation surrounding Rule 50 of the IOC and the athlete's perspective on this controversial topic. A spirited debate was held regarding the merits and drawbacks of the rule, with discussions centered on potential modifications to the rule as opposed to its abolishment. Athlete leaders from more than eight countries provided their perspective and possible solutions in the nearly two-hour debate.

On behalf of the IOC Athletes’ Commission, Bartekova added that any possible solution must consider all points of view and be inclusive for athletes around the world. She also expressed the importance of respecting the podium moments of athletes who sacrificed and persevered to reach the pinnacle of elite sport.

Panam Sports and its Athlete Commission are committed to providing platforms for athletes to express and share their valuable opinions. Following the fruitful virtual discussion, surveys will be sent to athletes throughout the region seeking their input and recommendations to find a path forward that elevates the athlete voice in a respectful manner.

The Athlete Commission encourages all athletes of the Americas to provide their feedback and continue engaging with the commission members to help shape the future of the Olympic Movement. Once all feedback is received, the commission will compile the recommendations and share them with the IOC for review.

“As the athletes of the Americas, we are taking the initiative to speak to other athlete leaders and brainstorm ways we can express our beliefs or create guidelines that enable this expression. Our discussions last week were the first step in understanding the greater athlete perspective, which is vital in our mission to find a resolution that benefits athletes throughout the world. Every member of our commission is ready to engage individually with all athletes who are eager to share their recommendations,” said Panam Sports Athlete Commission President, Aliann Pompey.

Updates from Athlete Commissions of National Olympic Committees throughout the region regarding their efforts to help athletes during this pandemic were also received during the meeting, with a focus on keeping the athletes of each country engaged with their respective commissions.

The WADA representatives also explained the advancements made to the anti-doping whereabouts application, as well as other important clarifications regarding in and out-of-competition testing.
Friday, July 31, 2020
World Athletics Push for Cross Country Relay at Paris 2024

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World Athletics will push for cross country to return to the Olympics in the form of a mixed relay at the 2024 Games in Paris - the city which last hosted it as an Olympic event 100 years earlier.

Speaking following a two-day meeting of the World Athletics Council, President Sebastian Coe said the organization had "agreed to pursue cross country as a discipline for Paris 2024".

"It is the mixed relay that we are proposing, and in simple terms that’s four athletes - two male, two female - each running two-and-a-half kilometers, and they do it twice in order to make the endurance criteria," Coe, who became an International Olympic Committee (IOC) member earlier this month, said.

In a statement, World Athletics said it would meet with the Paris 2024 Organizing Committee in the near future "to work out further details of the proposal".

A groundswell of support for Olympic cross country running has been forming in athletics circles for more than a decade.

In 2007, Mombasa in Kenya hosted the World Cross Country Championships for the first time and Paul Tergat, a five-time winner, led calls for an Olympic return.

"There is no better forum than the Olympic Games,” he said at the time.

"Unlike the track or road where surface conditions are uniform, in cross country you run with two eyes.”

Tergat was joined by another highly successful exponent, Kenenisa Bekele of Ethiopia, and Haile Gebrselassie, who sent letters to the then International Olympic Committee President Jacques Rogge and the then President of the International Association of Athletics Federations, Lamine Diack.

"It would be wonderful to give the world’s best cross country runners the chance to compete in the greatest of all sporting festivals," they suggested.

The disgraced Diack was supportive and suggested the Winter Games provided the best opportunity for the Olympic return of cross country.

However, clause six of the Olympic Charter insists: "Only those sports which are practiced on snow or ice are considered winter sports.’’

As a result, the summer rather than the Winter Games has become the target for cross country’s proponents.

A cross country race was included in the programme of the Youth Olympic Games in Buenos Aires in October 2018, and calls for full Olympic inclusion were renewed at last year’s highly successful and traditional World Cross Country Championships in Aarhus.

Cross country was introduced to the Olympics at the Stockholm 1912 Games and also took place at the 1920 Antwerp Olympics and the 1924 Paris Olympics, where extreme heat and pollution from a nearby power station caused most of the runners to drop out.

World Athletics is set to put cross country forward as an additional discipline to its already-stacked Olympic programme of events.

The IOC is due to confirm the Paris 2024 event programme in December.
Monday, July 27, 2020
CACSO Confirm Plans to Host the CAC Games

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The Central American and Caribbean Sports Organization (CACSO) has confirmed it still plans to stage the 2022 Central American and Caribbean Games, despite the withdrawal of hosts Panama City.

Panama withdrew from hosting the Games on July 24th, with the coronavirus pandemic cited as the reason behind the decision.

Panama is the Central American country with the highest number of deaths and infections from coronavirus.

More than 60,000 people in Panama have contracted COVID-19, resulting in at least 1,250 deaths.

The CACSO Executive Board held a meeting to discuss Panama's withdrawal.

A statement issued by CACSO President Luis Mejia Oviedo said that the Executive Board had expressed its "firm conviction that all efforts be directed towards celebrating the Games in 2022".

Oviedo said the Executive Board's support for the 2022 event was to ensure the "hard work of athletes in the region is not harmed at any time".

The organization’s Legal Commission, chaired by Christopher Samuda, is set to review the current contract signed by CACSO with the Panama 2022 Organizing Committee.

The CACSO said the Commission will view the contract "in order to establish any noncompliance and measures as soon as possible".

It is claimed this will give closure to the contractual relationship between CACSO and the Organizing Committee.

Oviedo previously criticized Panamanian authorities for relaying the decision to withdraw as hosts to the media first, rather than the body responsible for the event.

He said he had previously received a letter from Eduardo Cerda, the general director of the Government agency for sport in the country, confirming Panama's commitment to hosting the Games.

The 2022 Central American and Caribbean Games are scheduled to be the 24th edition of the event, which was first held in Mexico City in 1926.

Panama City had been scheduled to host for the third time, following 1938 and 1970.

The Games were last held in the Colombian city Barranquilla in 2018, which saw 37 countries competing across 36 sports.

CACSO vice-president Sara Rosario has been tasked with chairing a new Venues Commission, which will investigate potential options for a replacement host.
Saturday, July 25, 2020
35th Annual Denton Hurdle Memorial Awards Winners

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The 2020 Primary School winners were Day’asha Dill from Northlands Primary and Harris Flemming from Warwick Academy. Honorable mention was awarded to Evans Welch from St. David’s Primary, A’Meerah Richardon-Swan from Heron Bay Primary, Jack Berry from Somerset Primary and Bakari Smith Jr. from East End Primary.

Dill serves as a School Prefect, Captain of the Netball team, and Soccer team. She is also a member of the choir, the Jump-Rope club, Netball, Cross-country and Track Teams. She was also Gold House Captain while maintaining scholastic achievement honor role. She is a member of Pacers track club, storm netball club, dandy town football, and united dance production. She was a 2020 BSSF Football and Netball All-Star.

Flemming was a school prefect, Roberston House Captain, and school Football Captain. He is a member of MAAC juniors, the Bermuda Cycling Academy, Warwick Academy Grizzlies Football club, Fat Tire Massive Mountain Biking, Bermuda Rugby, Sharks Swim Club, and Tri-Hedz Junior Triathlon Club. He has won numerous Triathlon and Duathlon races and was part of the Under 10 Rugby Tour to the UK in 2019

Dominique Brown was named Middle School Girls winner, while Jonah Trott from Whitney Institute Middle School won the Middle School Boys Division. Honorable mention was awarded to Jasmin Hasselkuss and Jannis Roberts from Somersfield Academy and Adriana Argent and Harlan Watson-Brown from Warwick Academy.

Trott was a member of the student council, vice house captain while captaining the school rugby, football, cricket, and basketball teams. He was also a member of the school debate team and a member of the school band playing the clarinet and piano. Trott is a member of the MAAC jr. Running Club, St. David’s Cricket and Football, Bermuda Cricket Board National Academy, Cal Ripkin Baseball, Beyond Rugby, Fat Tire Massive Mountain Biking, Clarion Iron Kid’s Triathlon and the Bermuda Bicycle Association. He serves as a junior referee in the BFA Youth Leagues and is certified in Red Cross water safety.

Dominique Brown was a prefect, deputy head of sports, blue house captain, captain of all sports teams, school choir lead singer, head of Drama, and Student Council Co-President at Dellwood Middle School. Brown plays for Dandy Stars in football, Lindo’s Netball team, Longtails Hockey club, and is a Karate Brown Belt. She is a member of dancesations and the Bermuda School of Music Choir.

Kayla Raymond from Mount Saint Agnes Academy and Tyler Hurdle from Saltus Grammar School were named the Senior School winners. Lindsey Pacheco from Saltus and Jordan Etemadi were recognized with an honorable mention.

Hurdle was Darrell House Captain, Prefect and the varsity Boys Volleyball Captain. He coached the Saltus Middle School Girls’ Volleyball team and assisted with the coaching of the Senior Girls’ team. He received the 2020 Saltus male athlete of the year, SPIRIT award, and Physical Education award. He is a Bronze recipient of the Duke of Edinburgh award, Hurdle captained the Under 18 National team in tournaments in Boston and Daytona. He was a four-year honor roll student he graduates from Saltus with a total of 10 GCSEs and will attend Queen’s University of Charlotte where he has been recruited to play Volleyball. Hurdle is the great-nephew of the late Denton Hurdle and son of 1989 winner Derek Hurdle Jr.

Raymond was captain of the MSA Basketball team and a member of the Hurricane Basketball Academy. She was a member of the St. George’s Dinghy Club Youth Sailing programme, the MAAC Running club, Fat Tire Massive Mountain Biking, and serves a cadet commander at the T.S. Admiral Somers Sea Cadet Corps. She is also a Bronze recipient of the Duke of Edinburgh award

Raymond has won Gold in the 800 meters at the New York Amory Youth Track championships in 2019 and 2020 and won the 400 meters in 2020. She won the 2020 Senior School Front Street Mile and numerous other age group road races.
Thursday, July 23, 2020
Athletes Call for WADA Reform

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Athlete groups have come together to call for "proper reforms" at the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) to improve independence, transparency, human-rights provisions, and accountability.

Global Athlete, the Athletics Association, Canadian body AthletesCAN, Athleten Deutschland, the Danish Olympic Committee Athlete Commission and the United States Olympic and Paralympic Committee Athlete Advisory Council have all signed an open letter requesting action is taken.

It calls for WADA to "create a more independent structure free of real or perceived conflicts of interest", claiming "WADA’s leadership is represented in proportion to financial contributions, and influenced by lobbying by member states".

The athlete groups contend this "eliminates a majority of nations from ever holding a seat on WADA’s Board or Executive Committee" and insist funding and decision-making must be entirely separate.

They also want "equal independent active athlete representation" on the WADA Executive Committee.

In terms of transparency, all athlete sanctions and related investigations should be made public - and so too stakeholder compliance decisions - the groups argue.

They contend that decisions being made behind closed doors undermine athletes' rights, and also say "WADA investigations must have detailed terms of reference with a clear requirement for public reporting".

The letter goes on to claim "WADA can no longer self-regulate".

The proposed solution is for athletes to have "an independent and equal seat around all decision-making tables", with neither the International Olympic Committee or national Governments having more seats.
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