Trinidad and Tobago sprinter Jonathan Farinha hunts Olympic qualification abroad

In this file photo, Jonathan Farinha (C) takes part in a mens 100m race at a NAAA track and field event, - Photo by Sureash Cholai
In this file photo, Jonathan Farinha (C) takes part in a mens 100m race at a NAAA track and field event, - Photo by Sureash Cholai

IN a last-minute attempt to secure possible Olympic qualification, national sprinter Jonathan Farinha plans to travel to Guyana or Bahamas early next week to participate in either one of their national track and field trials.

With the deadline (June 29) for qualification nearing, the 25-year-old has opted to seek qualification to Tokyo on foreign soil after the National Association of Athletics Administrations of TT (NAAA), on Wednesday, postponed its first of two Olympic trial meets.

The first was scheduled to run off on Sunday at the Hasely Crawford Stadium in Mucurapo but a government-implemented weekend curfew (from Sunday 10am to Monday 5am) to restrict the spread of covid19, has now shelved the event to a date yet to be announced.

While Farinha understands the circumstances surrounding the association’s decision, the fluctuating uncertainty of when the trials would be held is taking a toll on the athlete.

“I am trying to head across to Guyana or Bahamas by Tuesday so I can use their trials as a platform to achieve the Olympic standards in the 100m and/or 200m events. To be honest I am hoping to go abroad because of the uncertainty here in Trinidad,” he said.

Both countries have the nationals from June 26-27 and Farinha is now searching for the earliest flight out to either destination.

If the NAAAs get the necessary permission from the Ministry of Health to possibly hold the event on Monday evening, Farinha will compete but remains intent on still heading out to achieve the required Olympics standards.

The standards for the men’s 100m are 10.05 seconds while the 200m is 20.24 seconds.

Additionally, Farinha said that the NAAA trials will feature one race/one shot at achieving Olympic qualification. This, he says, is an inadequate amount of time and races for a sprinter to attain such a high standard in just one attempt.

“Besides Rondel Sorrillo, my brother (Nathan) and one or two other athletes, there aren’t much others seeking qualification at this point.

“It’s also a bit unfair to us because it’s just one run (attempt). As an athlete, you cannot get a qualifying time in one run, you need to have at least two or three heats before in order for you to try to attain the standard in every round.

“And Even if they (NAAA) are having it (trials), they remain uncertain and I cannot chance it to not qualify for Olympics,” he added.

Farinha’s only competition this year was at an NAAA developmental meet in early January, where he clocked 10.50 seconds in the 100m.

The Abilene Wildcats sprinter has even tried to reach out to a couple other athletes on the same quest but said that finances remain the biggest challenge for those seeking a ticket to Tokyo.

While he prefers to save money and do the trials at home, the fluctuating uncertainty of when he would be able to perform, with heats, remains questionable.

“It might be just me alone going out in search of qualification. I could have been out of TT already but the NAAAs keep saying they’re waiting on approval. I would definitely stay and save my money if things are certain but now it’s unbearable, I cannot wait until the last minute,” he closed.


"Trinidad and Tobago sprinter Jonathan Farinha hunts Olympic qualification abroad"

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