Meets will be secondary to nothing else

Jamaica’s high school track meets – especially ‘Champs’ – are some of the best attended and exciting events on the island’s sporting calendar and within a few years Cayman hopes to emulate them on a smaller scale with the Inter-Secondary School Championships.

There are two meets at the Truman Bodden Complex on Monday 2 April, from 9am-3pm and on Tuesday 3 April, from 4-9pm, featuring athletes from eight schools in Grand Cayman and Cayman Brac. Entry is free.

At the announcement of this event on Monday were Minister of Sports Mark Scotland, Mary Rodrigues of the Ministry of Education and Dalton Watler, President of the Cayman Islands Athletics Association.

Scotland said: “We’ve worked hard to make the meet bigger and better this year and want to thank the main sponsors Maples who have come on board in a big way and committed for the next three years to sponsor this event. This event should be the premier track meet for this age group and with sponsorship and good organisation that is what it’s going to be.

“The prelims are on Monday and the finals are on Tuesday in the evening to encourage more parents and supporters to come out and see the stands filled and see some excellent track and field. We have some excellent athletes.

“We’re going to have a huge contingent from Cayman Brac, almost 40 athletes from Layman E Scott School will be coming over with their coaches. Eight schools out of 12 have confirmed attendance and next year we will build on that. With over 300 athletes competing that makes for an excellent competition.

“I want to thank the Cayman Islands Athletics Association as well. They’re the main organisers of the meet which is their expertise, so a huge thank you to Dalton Watler who is their president for coming on board.

“Cydonie Mothersill is lending her support and helping us organising and she has her own meet on 9 May. Exciting things happening for track and field. We had the inter-primaries last week and we’re continuing that momentum with the inter-secondaries next week. We want to thank DART as well for coming on board and all the school principals for making their athletes available.

“Many of these athletes are CARIFTA qualifiers and will be going on to the Games over the Easter weekend.”

Rodrigues said: “On behalf of my ministry I’m very pleased to give this event my unequivocal support. I’m sure it doesn’t come as a huge surprise that there is a direct correlation between participation in sports and student success. School sports supports academic progress and their achievements and the health benefits as well are obvious. Sports helps students some very important life skills such as leadership, team work, discipline and organisation and this can lead to improvement in education and life and sport can lead to opportunities for further studies through scholarships.”

Watler said: “My job is to endorse this particular event which started in 2008. It was hard then but not this time. A group of people have worked really hard to make this event happen. We are happy to see Maples coming back to sports. The Cayman Islands Athletic Association is very happy to see this event going in the right direction.

“Many of the athletes you’ll see next week are CARIFTA competitors, potential World Youth participants and Junior CAC Games. They are the future and it would be good for all of you to come and support because without support it will be difficult for them to show their full potential.”