Intense rivalry expected at JPS Western Primary Champs
Two-time defending champions Howard Cooke will have to contend with the regular lot plus eight new schools that are slated to make their debut at the Jamaica Public Service (JPS) Western Athletics Primary Championships at the Montego Bay Sports Complex on Saturday, June 11.
The number of entrants in this the eight renewal has hit 35, this according to chief organiser, Albert Ferguson.
Howard Cooke are expected to face stiff competition from two-time winners Wakefield Primary and Corinaldi Avenue Primary and Ferguson is promising an exhilarating day of track and field.
"The folks need to come out for this. It is going to be a hot day on the track as champions Howard Cooke will be facing strong competition from the likes of Corinaldi Avenue, Wakefield and of course, newcomers Black River Primary, who finished fourth at the INSPORTS National Primary Schools Championships," Ferguson said.
Black River Primary, surprisingly, are among the debutants, plus Brompton Primary, Bogue Hill Primary, Glendevon Primary, Springfield Primary, Hague Primary and Mount Airy Primary from Westmoreland.
Ray Harvey, the keynote speaker, observed that the event continues to inspire many young and talented future stars.
He pointed out that Jamaica's track and field culture, which found its roots in the country's early years, has mushroomed into one which is now the envy of the world.
"Our track and field culture is the envy of the world now because we initiated this many years ago. Now, it's blossoming and some of you will be the major stars of tomorrow," he charged the athletes.
Top performances are expected from Jovel Maduri of Corinaldi Avenue Primary in the 400m, while on the girls' side Howard Cooke's Shaniqua Vassell should delight spectators, having established new personal best times of 12.97 seconds in the 100m and 27.74 in the 200m event at the National Primary Schools Championship earlier in the year.
"These are two of our most talented athletes that will be on show come championship day. Others are also in line to make a mark for themselves and continue to make the JPS Western Primary Athletics Championships a top-class event in this part of Jamaica," said Ferguson.
The championship is regarded as the nurturing ground for future track and field stars from western Jamaica, having already given significant exposure to the likes of St Jago's Shaniel English, formerly of Cove Primary in Hanover, the outstanding STETHS prodigy Jauvaney James (Anchovy Primary), Rusea's and Vere Technical's Lamara Distin (Corinaldi Avenue Primary) and Devontae Haywood, formerly of Wakefield.