Plug pulled on Permit Meet

  • Hefty costs: Donna Raynor admits she was disappointed with this year’s turnout

    Hefty costs: Donna Raynor admits she was disappointed with this year’s turnout

The Bermuda National Athletics Association has decided to scrap the Bermuda Invitational Permit Meet because it was proving a “financial drain”.

Donna Raynor, the BNAA president, said the event did not make financial sense through a lack of sponsorship, dwindling attendances and the prohibitive costs of covering the travel expenses and accommodation of the visiting athletes.

The first event at the National Sports Centre in April 2016 proved a big hit, attracting 76 overseas competitors, including Jamaican sprinter Michael Frater, but the subsequent two meets have not been as successful.

“Financially it just wasn’t viable,” Raynor said.

“It’s been rough, so we’re leaving it. We’re don’t get any real sponsorship.”

Raynor said the BNAA would instead look to bring in overseas athletes to compete at the National Championships.

“We’re hoping our athletes will come back home [for the championships],” Raynor said.

“We will bring in athletes to have a full field and make sure [the Bermuda athletes’] events are competitive. That’s what we’re looking at for next year.”

Last year’s Permit Meet was pushed back to July to avoid clashing with the 35th America’s Cup. Despite the presence of overseas athletes such as Olympic sprinter Wallace Spearmon, of the United States, and top Bermudians Tyrone Smith, in the long jump, sprinter Tre Houston and wheelchair sprinter Jessica Lewis, the turnout was disappointing.

This year’s event was brought forward to May to dovetail with the North American, Central American and Caribbean Championships circuit, but the crowds again dwindled.

The event was hardly helped by the withdrawal of Olympic gold medal-winner LaShawn Merritt, of the US, who pulled out of the 400 metres because of a heel injury, leaving the meet without its star athlete.

“It’s unfortunate; we’ve had several athletes call and send e-mails to ask for the dates [of next year’s Permit Meet] as they want to put it in their calendar, but financially it is just draining us,” Raynor added.

“We have to pay everything: appearance fees for the top athletes, accommodation and airfare for the other athletes, food and then prize money. We didn’t get the crowds we would have liked to help offset the costs.”

The new 2018-19 athletics season, which will include the inaugural Zurich 5K on September 23, starts on Monday with the Labour Day Race.

The first race of the cross-country series is set for September 29.

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Published Aug 29, 2018 at 8:00 am (Updated Aug 28, 2018 at 9:56 pm)

Plug pulled on Permit Meet

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