There is an air of optimism for athletes and coaches as track and field events make their eagerly awaited return, starting this weekend.
Central Gauteng Athletics (CGA) is leading the way with a bumper programme for its first track meeting of the year at the Boksburg Stadium on Saturday.
There is excitement all around as athletes will step onto the track to participate after weeks of training without knowing whether they will be allowed to compete. After hosting a successful cross-country championship in Kagiso in January before Athletics SA (ASA) suspended its programme nationally for two weeks due to Covid-19 second wave, CGA is ready to host athletes from all over the country.
The first track meeting, which will accommodate the under-16 and under-20 age groups and senior athletes, will start at 9am.
The CGA track and field meetings will take place in the next four weeks in Boksburg and Ruimsig Stadium in Roodepoort. The provincial championships will take place on March 26 and 27 at the Boksburg Stadium.
The meetings will afford the athletes a much-needed opportunity to gauge their fitness in the Olympics year. Athletes are also itching to qualify for national and continental events ahead of the Olympics. Big names such as Lebo Phalula and Precious Mashele will headline the track meet in Boksburg.
CGA president James Moloi said they want to play their part to help athletes qualify for various competitions. "We have a busy few weeks with meetings and coaching programmes. We invite athletes from all over the country to compete. We have a wonderful facility and will adhere to the Covid-19 regulations," said an excited Moloi.
Athletes will not be allowed to take showers at the stadium. They'll be required to sanitise their hands at all times and to keep a social distance of two metres at all times. All athletes must have two valid 2020 ASA licence numbers. No temporary licences will be on sale.
Only pre-entries on the day of competition will be allowed. The entry fee is R20 per athlete. Only registered and affiliated ASA/CGA coaches will be allowed into the stadium.
No coach will be allowed in the competition area. Athletes must report one hour before their event to the registration table. No food/ tuck shop will be available at the stadium and athletes must bring their refreshments.
Only four athletes per heat will be allowed. For middle distance races, only 10 athletes per heat will be allowed. Athletes can only remove their mask when competing and put them back as soon as they are finished with the race.
No spectators will be allowed in the stadium.