By Susil Premalal
The 21st International Schools Athletic Championship (ISAC) which is scheduled to be held in February is likely to be cancelled because of the prevailing health situation in the country, according to Dr Harsha Alles, Chairman of ISAC and Gateway Group.
The premier athletic competition among international schools, ISAC attracts 2500 participants from 24 schools.
Held during the last two weeks of February annually, this year’s edition was held on February 13 and 14 at the Sugathadasa Stadium.
This was the only national level athletic meet held for schools this year. Thereafter no competitions were held because of the outbreak of the coronavirus pandemic.
All international schools have been closed for the past nine months and there is no indication when it will fully reopen. As a result none of the schools have conducted inter-house meets in preparation for the 21st ISAC meet.
The closing date for accepting entries for ISAC is January 10 but the organisers have not been able to do anything.
“ISAC is held annually during the last two weeks of February. If we cannot hold it during this period, we won’t be conducting it. The reason is because the students have to do give priority to exams thereafter. Since there is a spike in coronavirus cases in Colombo, definitely we have to cancel the 2021 ISAC meet. We have not taken a final decision yet. We will take a decision after consulting all the schools,” Dr Alles told the ‘Daily Mirror’.
“Meanwhile no international school has begun training in preparation for ISAC. It would be unfair by talented athletes if the meet is held without proper training,” said Dr Alles and Gateway International School Director of Sports Maj. Gen. (Rtd) Upali Bandaratilleke.
Apart from ISAC, international schools have competitions for football, basketball, netball, swimming, badminton, chess, squash, table tennis, tennis, rowing, karate and cricket. These events cannot be held without the approval of health authorities.
This year’s international school team events were cancelled because of the coronavirus. There is uncertainty whether it could be held next year as well.
ISAC is organized by Gateway and Lyceum alternately for three years. Gateway is the host in 2019, 2020 and 2021.