Athletics

Hydel looking to extend winning streak at JISA Prep Champs

By Dwayne Richards
Observer writer

Thursday, May 16, 2019

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Thirteen-time defending champions Hydel Prep will look to maintain their stranglehold on the JISA/Little Caesars Pizza National Athletics Championships which begins today inside National Stadium.

The Ferry-based school made it 13 times lucky last year with a comfortable 115.5-point win over rivals Vaz Prep.

A shortened preparation time due to the newly introduced Primary Exit Profile (PEP) Exams has had an impact on preparation for most schools, but the usual suspects such as Quest, Mona, Wolmer's, St Peter & Paul and Emmanuel Christian Academy are expected to push last year's top-two for honours.

The three-day meet will have a new title sponsor in Little Caesars Pizza who were happy to come on board for one of Jamaica's longest-running junior championships according to Sponsorship & Public Relations Manager Ricardo Brooks.

“The brand represents shareability and team events. It's pizza, which is a shareable product and we were looking for an event that would give us the largest reach in terms of interacting with this critical age group and their parents and wider family.

“We thought there could be no better event than Prep Champs. Forty-two years of a meet? That means it must be a quality event and Little Caesars represents quality, so we had to get on board.”

In addition to the $2.8 million in sponsorship that Little Caesars is providing, they will also be offering educational grants to the top boy and girl as well as a cash prize to the winning school.

“We will have the 'Hot and Ready' Champion Boy and Girl, both of them will receive a $50,000 grant at the end of the meet, the winning team, $100,000 towards their track and field programme.”

There is also something new by way of entertainment for the young and not so young on Friday's second day.

“On Friday afternoon we will be introducing what we call a meet with a difference because we know track meets don't normally have a half-time show.

“Little Caesars will be having a 'hot and ready' half-time show led by 'Jenny Jenny' the Energizer Bunny, so we are going to make the meet exciting and fun because they are children after all. I was glad to hear the president of the JAAA talk about the importance of children having fun and so we are going to ensure that in the afternoon on Friday there is a half-time entertainment show for the parents, for the children and for the wider family.”

The initial deal is for one year but an enthusiastic Brooks suggested that he has eyes on a long- term deal with JISA.

“There is a strong possibility that we will be partners with JISA again for at the very least, three more years.”

Meet Manager Courtland Soares revealed that there would be no new events this year but expected last year's new event, the 60m hurdles, to produce fireworks.

“We have no new events this year. I must make mention that having introduced the 60m hurdles for Class One boys and Class One girls last year and having seen results, that suggest that the coaches are now coming to grips with the training methodologies and the athletes are coming to grips with the mechanics of hurdling, that we expect, certainly if no other records fall, we expect to see those records tumble.”

Christopher Samuda, president of the Jamaica Olympic Association, spoke about the need to nurture the dreams and ambition of our children in sports to help them achieve their full potential.

“We the Jamaica Olympic Association and you JISA and your partners stand at the starting blocks where it all begins, where our children begin to dream and to aspire with a myriad of emotions fuelled by the expectations of parents. If, therefore, we stand at the beginning we must then possess the vision and conviction to treat our children right.

“We must speak with them about getting out of the blocks with a sense of purpose that drives them to achieve beyond their expectations and to inculcate within them values which propel them to ultimately claim the prize at the finishing line.”

President of the Jamaica Administrative Athletics Association (JAAA), Dr Warren Blake, urged the audience to understand the value that participating in sports has on developing the character of individuals.

“I could not help but notice the motto of JISA which states, 'the private sector leaders in nation- building, through education'. Some would want us to discount value of sports to education and would want you to think that you should just go to school and not participate in sports, this is certainly not true.

“Book learning and sports go hand in hand to give a complete education. Athletics and sports in general teach us the value of sticking to the rules, the value of playing fair and true, the value of team building, the value of respecting your competitors. It teaches us the joy of winning and the pain of defeat and the ability to return from a loss to succeed yet again. Overall, all these values help to build a better person.”


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