pauline-davis-thompson

Pauline Davis-Thompson

by Michael Bascombe

SANTO DOMINGO, September 10, 2016 – Track and field athletes in the North American, Central American and Caribbean Athletics Association (NACAC) region will have an expanded calendar of events programme in 2017 as more Area Permit Meets (APM) are considered from a proposed calendar.

The NACAC Board is meeting here this weekend and among agenda items will be the NACAC Calendar of events for 2017.

Chair of the Competitions Committee, Pauline Davis-Thompson of the Bahamas said that NACAC is answering the calls for more track and field competitions within the NACAC area and fans could expect to see more of their athletes competing at home or in a nearby territory.

“Our athletes have been speaking to us loud and clear. They have been telling us we want to stay more in the region because it’s very exhausted going to Europe,” Davis-Thompson told GrenadaSports.

“At least from the end of March to probably the end of June and then if they need to go to Europe then they go. We have heard our athletes. We have the best athletes in the world and we should showcase them in the NACAC region.”

NACAC has already provisionally awarded Area Permit Meet (APM) status to the Penn Relays and the Drake Relays in the United States as well as in Martinique, Grenada and Puerto Rico.

She insisted that NACAC is trying to provide more athletic competitions for the athletes and fans in the region. She noted the growing talent pool within NACAC and the decision to grant more APMs is welcomed.

“We are not trying to take anything away from Europe. What we are saying is that we want our athletes to compete in our region too and so we are willing to work together to achieve a one common goal because at the end of the day we are IAAF.”

Davis-Thompson, who won 200 metres and 4x100m Olympic gold medals in 2000 at the age of 34, believes the athletes’ decision to compete in the region will inspire the young talents.

“This will also inspire our young athletes who could compete with them at home. When I was a young kid I was able to compete with the great Merlene Ottey and Grace Jackson and others and that inspired me to do great things.

And I so I think with our athletes competing in the region it will inspire our NACAC young athletes in waiting to go unto to do great things,” she said.

Davis-Thompson said NACAC has been canvassing and building support for the athletes. The Rio Olympic medallists also received special NACAC T-shirts.

She also praised the NACAC president Victor Lopez for his passion to develop track and field in the NACAC region.

“We have a great leader in Victor Lopez, as a former coach and athlete, and pretty much we have a very good team in the NACAC Board and we know what’s best for our athletes and we are working diligently and meticulously to make sure that becomes a reality.”

She said the NACAC representatives on the IAAF Council have been agitating and pushing the region’s agenda.

NACAC is represented by Lopez of Puerto Rico, Davis-Thompson of the Bahamas, Alberto Juantorena of Cuba, Stephanie Hightower of the United States and Abby Hoffman of Canada.

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