Tue | Jan 22, 2019

Too much competition among girls, says STETHS coach - Lack of boarding facilities for females affecting training

Published:Friday | March 23, 2018 | 12:00 AMKavarly Arnold/Gleaner Writer
Standout St Elizabeth Technical High School sprinter Sachin Dennis competing at the ISSA/GraceKennedy Boys and Girls' Athletics Championships at the National Stadium yesterday.

St Elizabeth Technical High School (STETHS) has, in the past couple of years, been better on the boys' side than that of the girls - at least since being under the guidance of coach Renaldo Walcott, who said that this is as a result of their programme going through a lot of changes.

This, he said, is coupled with changes to the field dynamic in Jamaica on the girls' side.

"Schools like Hydel, before five or so years ago, weren't in the picture at all, so it's extremely competitive when it comes to female recruits," said Walcott. "You have a lot of girls' schools that are doing good work and are also vying for championships. Of course, you have a lot of boys' schools, too, but at the same time, you have more boys interested in sports than there are girls being interested in sports."

Walcott pointed out that when he started working at STETHS permanently in 2010, the girls were scoring some 80-plus points, but due to the challenges faced, the tide has turned.

"If you look at the schools who are doing well on the girls' side, they pretty much board all their student-athletes. If you look at what it takes to get them to score, you realise that if we don't really have a girls' facility for boarding, where they can actually spend some time and train other than just an hour after school, you're at a distinct disadvantage," Walcott said.

Walcott stated that on the contrary, they do board heavily on the boys' side, and as a result, have been reaping success, with them finishing fifth last year, with 114.5 points, compared to the girls finishing 15th, with 28 points.