Sport

$825,000 allocated for final INSPORTS All-Age & Junior High Champs

Saturday, April 21, 2018

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A total of $825,000 worth in prize money has been allocated for the 40th and final staging of the Insports All-Age & Junior High Athletics Championships scheduled for April 25-26 at the National Stadium.

Olivia Grange, minister of sport, in delivering the main address at the event's launch on Wednesday at the National Stadium's hospitality room, said all 10 participating schools will be rewarded monetarily.

“Each school will be given $50,000 to assist with their expenses for this upcoming championship,” announced the minister. “The top-three teams will be presented with sports equipment. And the prizes are $150,000 for first place, $100,000 for second place, and $75,000 for third place.

“And the National Stadium facilities will be the venue for this final staging of the championships.”

The championships have been held at the National Stadium East Field over the last few years, but have seen a gradual decline with 16 schools participating last year.

The discontinuation of the all-age and junior high school system is a government initiative to amalgamate these schools into the primary or secondary arrangement that aims to improve the overall quality of education in the country.

Education Minister Senator Ruel Reid highlighted the importance of this policy shift, noting that currently 67 per cent of the working population does not have secondary certification, which impacts negatively on the economic and social aspect of our society.

“Of significance is that every student who would have sat GSAT this year has a place now in a full high school; and not just for five years, but we're giving you up to seven years, so everybody gets a better opportunity to go on (and excel to the highest level),” Senator Reid said.

“And when you look back, perhaps we could have produced far more world -class athletes in the past if we were able to have them in our institutions and nurture them right up to the highest level.”

Meanwhile, Jamaica Athletics Administrative Association General Secretary Garth Gayle used the country's most recent successes at the Carifta and Commonwealth Games to implore the athletes to take advantage of the great potential that's before them.

A total of 55 events will be contested, with action starting 9:00 am daily.

Admission is free to the public.

Defending champions Windward Road will be aiming for a fifth-straight lien on the coveted cup. However, 22-time champions John Mills, who have been runners-up in the last four editions, are desperate to regain top spot at the end of the event.

The annual event has been central in the early development of 2008 Olympic women's 100m silver and 200m bronze medallists Kerron Stewart (John Mills Junior High), and Markino Buckley (Balcombe Drive All-Age), who finished seventh in the final of the 400m hurdles at the 2008 Olympics in Beijing.

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