The Virgin Islands Track and Field Federation (VITFF) announced on Nov. 16 that due to COVID-19 it is acting under the present state of emergency for the territory as established by the Government of the Virgin Islands, the V.I. Health Department and the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) with guidelines for competition, training and operations from WA (World Athletics), NACAC (The North America, Central America and Caribbean Athletics Association).
World and regional track and field competition, have, for the most part, been canceled or postponed until 2021, including the Tokyo Olympic Games, CARIFTA and others. The VITFF sanctioning of V.I. track and field, road running and cross-country events has been placed on hold until further notice. Training and individual activity is recommended only with the adherence to CDC and acceptable guidelines.
Two VITFF member clubs, STAR (St. Thomas Association of Road Runners) on St. Thomas and the Virgin Islands Pace Runners on St. Croix, are conducting or assisting in the organization of virtual running events that are open to all. In some cases, they are fundraisers for non-profits like the Virgin Islands Olympic Committee Olympic Day Run and the Women Race for the Women’s Coalition of St. Croix.
Through the assistance of training grants from the Virgin Islands Olympic Committee and the International Olympic Committee a number of V.I. national track and field team members are pursuing adequate training circumstances in an effort to qualify for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics that were rescheduled the summer of 2021.
They include: Laverne Jones-Ferrette, sprinter; Yashira Rhymer-Stuart, high jump; Wanetta Kirby, high jump, and long jump; Nia Jack, sprints; Bridget Klein, marathon; Eddie Lovett, 110m hurdles; Eduardo Garcia, marathon; Muhammad Halim, triple jump and long jump; Malique Smith, 400m hurdles; Brian Slater, sprints; Rodney Griffin, 400m, among other Olympic hopefuls. With exception of Smith and Jack, these athletes are training stateside.
VITFF is managing a number of grants designed to improve its capacity to make track and field happen in the territory. It has received Disaster Recovery Grants from WA and the VIOC for the purchase of track and field equipment for both of the territory’s jurisdictions, including jump mats, hurdles, implements, etc., to be stored in special storage containers to be stationed at the St. Croix Educational Complex High School Track and Field Facility and the Eudora Kean High School Track and Field Facility on St. Thomas. Government funds are making it possible for the purchase of additional electronic timing equipment that is on order to ensure that both districts can conduct certification and qualification competitions.
The VITFF does not have ownership of track and field facilities. Over the years it has developed a strong relationship (to include the use of the track and field facilities) with the V.I. Department of Education in taking on the responsibility of developing student/athletes for college scholarships and national teams up to and including the Olympic Games, thus, the development of productive citizens.
As such, the federation is seeking approval of a formal agreement regarding the utilization of track and field facilities with the Government of the V.I. and is looking forward to expanding the level of competition for the hosting of major events, further development of certified coaches and technical officials, the ongoing purchase of technical equipment for the facilities, and use by the schools and the public.
VITFF is holding bi-weekly informational meetings for its member clubs in preparation for the election of executive officers and commission chairs scheduled for Dec. 13. Candidates must be registered and in good standing with VITFF, nominated by a club in good standing with VITFF, and complete a VITFF online questionnaire (the deadline for nominations is Dec. 6).
Notes on the informational meetings and information about the election can be found in VITFF Bulletins: http://virginislandspace.org/vitff.html. The next informational meeting will be held at 2 p.m., Sunday, Nov. 22. Contact VITFF [email protected]