September 28, 2022

By Barrie Alpha

The Sierra Leone Athletics Association will kick start a three-day National Championship from today, Thursday 18th to Saturday 20th March 2021 at the Bo City field.

According to the Technical Director of the association, Harold Palmer, up to 100 are expected to participate, including 10 from the North-West Region, 15 from Western Region Urban, 15 from Western Region Rural, 20 from the Southern, 20 from the East and 20 from the Northern Region.

He went further to state that the national championship is in line with world athletics body IAAF recommendation that all members should organise a national championship every year, adding that they were planning for the national championship when they received a letter from the Africa Confederation of Athletics (ACA) stating that Nigeria will be hosting the ECOWAS Senior and Junior Championship in April, in which they should participate.

“The competition in Nigeria will also serve as the Japan Olympics Games qualifier in late July-August this year,” he said.

Among the events will be all the normal events; the 100, 200, 400, 800, 1500, 5000, 10000 metres, and the relays.

The Technical Director said they have two spaces for athletes to go the Games on a wild card basis, that they have Maggie Barrie who has already qualified, and are looking for one athlete among the lot to qualify for the wild card. Notwithstanding, he said if they have any athletes who can clock the Olympic target time from the above events he or she will automatically qualify to go and compete in the Games.

He said they have two athletes in Senegal undergoing high performance training noting that one of two athletes, Famata Awolo has also already qualified but will take part in an IAAF required competition like the one in Nigeria next month. The target time for 100 metres for men is 10.00 seconds and 11.00 seconds for women.

Palmer also stated that their greatest constraint is the weather as international competitions always take place in the rainy season. Beside the weather he said the country presently has no photo finish timer as the one in Bo is presently out of order.

He said the electrical appliances at the stadium in Bo were blown up as a result of thunder strikes, and that the photo finish timer forced them to do the national championship in Bo because the track at the Siaka Stevens Stadium in Freetown is already worn out.

Palmer concluded by appealing to the government and the authorities in charge of the stadium to stop vehicles from riding on the tracks.