Jamaica Invitational meet postponed due to coronavirus outbreak
Reigning Olympic sprint double champion Jamaican Elaine Thompson acknowledges the crowd after winning the women's 200 metres at the 2017 staging of the Jamaica International Invitational at the National Stadium in Kingston.
The 2020 Jamaica International Invitational (JII) meet has been postponed as the chaos stemming from the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak continues to impact the world.
The 16th staging of the meet was scheduled to take place on Saturday, May 2 at the National Stadium in Kingston.
Donald Quarrie, athlete liaison for the meet, confirmed the postponement through a press release on Wednesday.
“The COVID-19 pandemic is having a tremendous effect on the lives of persons globally and has caused major changes and disruptions in the world of sports," noted Quarrie.
"To date, the COVID-19 pandemic is still not under control in numerous countries including Jamaica. As a result, in the best interest of the well-being of the athletes, coaches, officials, spectators, sponsors and all others involved in putting on this annual event, the organizing committee has decided to postpone the meet that was scheduled for May 2, 2020.”
Quarrie further noted that “more information on the new date will be communicated once it has been confirmed.”
The JII meet that started in 2004 as a North America, Central America and Caribbean area permit meet, has since been upgraded by the world governing body for the sport - World Athletics.
In 2010, the meet was upgraded to World Challenge Meet status, making it one notch below the lucrative Diamond League status. After a one-year absence because of insufficient funding, the meet was scheduled to return this year as part of the new World Athletics Continental Series, which replaced the World Challenge series as the second tier of competition under the Diamond League.
Eighteen world-class athletes including Christian Coleman, who cemented himself as the world’s fastest active man with his world championships victory in 9.76 seconds last season, had already confirmed for the meet.
Also confirmed was Coleman's United States teammate Dalilah Muhammad, who won the women's 400m hurdles gold medal in Doha.
Jamaican sprinting star Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce and the vastly improved long jumper Tajay Gayle were also confirmed.
On Wednesday, Health and Wellness Minister Dr Christopher Tufton reported that Jamaica recorded one more confirmed COVID-19 case. This brings the total to 26 confirmed cases in the country with one fatality.
And the worldwide number of infections has topped 487,000, according to Johns Hopkins University. The death toll has surpassed 22,000, while more than 117,000 have recovered.