Happy for it!
Western Ja-based athletes thankful for this year's staging of 'Champs'Thursday, May 13, 2021
BY PAUL A REID
MONTEGO BAY, St James - After last year's sudden cancellation of the Inter-secondary Schools Sports Association (ISSA)/GraceKennedy Boys' and Girls' Athletics Championships (Champs) and the ups and downs of the high schools track and field season, the recent news that the event would go ahead was met with elation and joy, especially among athletes and coaches.
There were concerns among track and field stakeholders that Champs, which started on Tuesday at the National Stadium, would have been called off for a second-straight year after the season was put on hold in late March due to a surge in the COVID-19 cases on the island.
The news that the three regional championships, including the recent COCAA Western Champs and the national championships would go on was met with relief, and the joy was shared with the Jamaica Observer West by four athletes who competed at the one-day event held at the St Elizabeth Technical Sports Complex in Santa Cruz in the parish.
Daniel Binns of St Elizabeth Technical High School (STETHS), who was second in the Class One boys' 400m at Western Champs, said he was happy he would get his chance at a final Champs as he saw first-hand the effect on some of those students who were denied what would have been their last Champs in 2020.
“I feel pretty good that we will get to go to Champs for one last time as I know some of my former teammates who did not get to compete in their final year last year,” he said, “and if Champs was not going to be held I would not get to compete in Class One so it's a really good chance, a really good opportunity and I am thankful and going to make the best of it.”
Daniella Anglin of Herbert Morrison High, who could have left last year as she had several US college offers but decided to return for her final year, said, “I feel good because training at home wasn't as good as it used to be when we could train as a team and competing at Champs will give me a chance to see where I am at in my development ...I just feel good about the chance.”
Anglin, who retained her 100m high jump title after setting the record last year, and also won the long jump and was second in the 400m said for Champs, “I am going to put my best forward despite all the chaos that is going on so expect the best from me.”
Cornwall College jumper Omari McKenzie, who also had overtures from US college scouts last year, told the Observer West that “Champs been approved is a good thing as student/athletes who have been working hard will finally get the opportunity to get scholarships as a reward for their hard work.”
“The overseas coaches are always using Champs as a main place to scout for talent and I am just glad that we are being allowed to compete and show off our best,” he added.
Salieci Myles, who won the Class One girls' 100m and 100m hurdles after she transferred from many-time ISSA girls' champions Edwin Allen, to Rusea's High, said despite not having as many meets to prepare for Champs this year, getting the chance to participate was great.
“It feels great even though we did not really get the opportunity to train as we wanted during the season and as such the performances have been affected,” she noted.
She added that she was, however, still happy to be given the chance to compete at Champs.
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