VANCOUVER, March 8, 2021 -- Determined to avoid cancellation of its long-running Harry Jerome Track Classic for a second consecutive year, the Achilles Track Society will go ahead with the meet on June 12 featuring competition at three locations and with a focus on helping Canadians qualify for the 2021 Tokyo Olympics.
Restrictions due to the Covid-19 pandemic meant no meet in 2020 at its traditional home at Burnaby’s Swangard Stadium and threatened to also derail this year’s event. But organizers have put together a plan to utilize three different facilities, allowing them to keep athlete and officials numbers within provincial health office guidelines.
Running events will be held on the Swangard track, the javelin and jumps (high jump, long jump, triple jump) at the University of B.C. and the circle throws (shot put, hammer and discus) at Kamloops.
The Swangard events will likely be contested in 60- or 90-minute blocks, with hour-long breaks to clear the grounds.
“We’re working hard to provide a local opportunity for Canadian athletes to qualify for the Olympics that is safe and athlete-friendly as possible,” said Achilles organizer Nigel Hole.
No fans will be allowed, but Achilles is looking at producing live-streaming of the competitions, a tool increasingly used by track and field meets around the world to address the lack of a live audience.
Unfortunately, the current restrictions on travel and the quarantines required for entry into Canada mean there will be no international competitors this year. And top Canadian athletes, such as sprinters Andre De Grasse and Aaron Brown, who were key draws in recent years but who now live and train in the U.S., will likely not attend.
However, the Jerome will serve as a welcome meet for Canadian-based athletes, particularly those training at the Athletics Canada West Hub in Victoria who are struggling to find high-level competitions given the cancellations of so many events on the spring/summer calendar. Leaving the country to compete is a non-starter for many given that Canada’s international travel protocols mean two weeks in quarantine upon return.
“I believe we have an incredible opportunity this year to really reconnect to why this meet started in the first place and why this meet has meant so much to generations of athletes, coaches and fans,” said Hole.
“Now, more than ever, athletes have their own unique and challenging story. When you take the time to hear these stories, you can’t help but be enrolled in contributing to their journey. Being so isolated over the last year, many are longing for connection, not just to people but to a cause that is bigger than themselves.
“They want to feel like they can make a difference. And while there will be a limited number of people on the ground at the event, the 2021 Harry Jerome will provide lots of opportunities for people to contribute to this collective effort and those individual athletes’ journeys.”
Meet organizer, Nigel Hole is asking any athlete who may have an interest in competing register their interest by completing this online form. Please recognize that registering on this online form does not guarantee participation.
ONLINE FORM LINK: https://forms.gle/nfQeTYmuxktGWgyH7
The public health regulations are sure to change by June 2021 and organizers are aiming to provide opportunities to athletes aiming to achieve qualification for the Tokyo Olympics. The final event list inclusion will change as we move forward in these challenging times.
If you are accepted to participate that information will be available on our website near the event dates www.harryjerome.com
For the latest information on the meet, athletes and coaches should continue to check in at www.harryjerome.com
Nigel Hole, Achilles Track Society, director
Doug Clement, Achilles Track Society president
Gary Kingston, Achilles media relations