Combined Events

2020 English Schools’ Multi-Events Championships

Dear colleagues,

In a normal year, we would all have been travelling home from another successful track & field championships, but this has been far from a normal year so far, and doesn’t look as though it will change for some considerable time to come.

Sadly, it seems to be becoming a habit for me to have to send out bad news this year. After many weeks of hard work, planning and analysis of athletes’ performances, the coordinators of the Combined Events and Race Walking Championships have been forced to cancel the event. I know many of you will have witnessed the work they have done, including requesting nominations for the event from yourselves, as well as looking at hundreds of performances from last year and training performances from this year. I must take this opportunity to thank Iain Presnell and Dick Bowden, the two coordinators, but also Dennis Johnson, the local organiser, who between them spent many hours trying to work out who the best candidates were to take part in the championship, despite having had no qualifying rounds and little other evidence to work from. In addition I would thank Alan Lindop, who has been a member of the National Union of Track Statisticians for more than fifty years and gave willingly of his time and expertise in supporting the championships.

Unfortunately, it reached the stage where there was little prospect of being able to hold any competition, even one restricted in size. They had looked at the current restrictions on movement and gatherings, and, even if they were to be relaxed over the next few weeks, they would not have reached the stage where almost 300 athletes could gather in groups of up to 25 at a field event, or track events could be held normally. At present, races longer than 400m can’t be held except in lanes and that may still not be possible in September. There are issues around the cleaning of hurdles, high jump and pole vault beds, long jump pits and starting blocks, all of which would have brought additional costs and personnel needs. There was also the fear that local lockdowns could restrict some counties from being able to participate or worse still, cause Bedford to be unavailable.

There was also concern that parents would have to bring athletes and then leave them at the gate to compete, as the event would probably have had to go ahead without spectators, but only a small number of team managers. There were many other areas of concern, but the last straw was the fact that the accommodation booked for the officials is closed and was unlikely to open again before the end of September. Many of the officials had very willingly continued to agree to take part but we could not continue without accommodation for them.

I know this will mean huge disappointment for many young athletes but sadly, there was no prospect of going ahead and it was felt that now was the right time to make that decision, so that counties didn’t find themselves faced with charges for bookings they could not fulfil if we cancelled later.

There is also little prospect that the Indoor Combined Events International will go ahead in November, but, if it does, we will create criteria to select a team to travel to Glasgow. 

I understand that the government of China has cancelled all international sport in the country for the remainder of the year, so the ISF event due to be held there won’t now happen and we still have no news on the postponed ISF Cross Country in Slovakia.

Hopefully I can bring you some good news eventually this year, and we should all remain optimistic but it has been difficult for us all I’m sure.

I will be in touch in the next couple of days with the results of the virtual competition and will also be sending you the link to the virtual exhibition that the Athletics Museum which should open on Wednesday.

If you have any questions, please get in touch. 

With best wishes

Chris

Chris Cohen CBE

Honorary Secretary

English Schools Athletic Association

As the North East schools multi-event competition has been cancelled, the National Organising Committee are trying to run a National Final through invitation and nominations from Counties. If you feel as though you are able to compete at National level and would like Durham Schools to nominate you please send, name, D.O.B. school and P.B’s to 
robison9719@gmail.com.
These should reach me by Sunday 21st JUNE at the latest
Any recent training times and distances can be put forward but NOT as a P.B.
The decision on whether or not you are selected is totally down to the National Organising Committee and NOT Durham Schools Athletic Association.
Any issues with regard to this should be forwarded to the same email address
John Robison.