INSPORTS to donate $500,000 worth spikes to champion school
The Institute of Sports (INSPORTS) will be continuing its initiative to develop track and field in Junior High Schools with the annual staging of the popular INSPORTS Junior High Athletics Championships from April 13-15.
The meet, to be held for the second consecutive year at the National Stadium East, will see some 2,000 athletes vying for top honours.
Through its regular coaching seminars, the government-run sports agency recognised the necessity for a constant supply of sporting equipment to enhance proper development at this level and as such, they have allocated $500,000 for the purchasing of spikes for the champions.
"We're going to give the winning school half a million dollars' worth of running spikes," said Ian Andrews, administrative director, INSPORTS.
"That will go towards their development. If they want to keep them or give them to the athletes, it's up to them," he added.
Andrews noted that their aim is to increase participation on a national scale.
"We only have 22 schools participating," he pointed out. "The number of schools have been dwindling because many have been upgraded to high schools.
"Hopefully with this initiative, next year, we will be able to attract other schools from outside the Corporate Area and St Catherine. Right now, Osborne Store is the only school outside Kingston and St Catherine that will be participating," he observed.
In keeping with that plan, the INSPORTS administrative director said they have formed a union with the heads of institutions.
PARTNERSHIP WITH PRINCIPALS
"We've developed a partnership with the principals with a view of developing the meet and, hopefully, they will spread the word and influence other principals for their schools to take part at the meet," said Andrews, who listed more plans to increase popularity.
"We'll be going into the schools to try to sensitise them between now and next week. We'll be looking to highlight the top athletes, who invariably will end up going to high schools," he noted.
The majority of those athletes are generally fielded by Windward Road Junior High and John Mills Junior High, which have dominated the championships.
During the recent staging, Windward Road successfully defended their title ahead of John Mills, the many-time champions.
The top teams prepare at the National Stadium East and meet director, Maureen Chin-Miller, said expectations are high because a larger portion of the student body will now contribute to the overall outcome.
"So far, it's looking good, we're getting everything in place," she said about their preparedness.
"What has heightened the competition is because we've added the primary school component as well.
"Windward Road and John Mills will be renewing their rivalry again, and it should be very exciting," said Chin-Miller.