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Missing all the action - York Castle principal hurt as students not allowed to participate

Published:Saturday | March 27, 2010 | 12:00 AM

Carl Gilchrist, Gleaner Writer

The ISSA/GraceKennedy Girls and Boys' Athletic Championships is usually a happy time for everybody, whether you are a fan, a top athlete, a not-so-great one, or a proud school administrator. This is not the case for principal of York Castle High School in Brown's Town, St Ann.

Raymond Treasure says he will be lodging a formal protest with the Inter-Secondary Schools Sports Association (ISSA) regarding the omission of four of the school's male students from this year's championships.

"The situation literally dampens the mood of the school," Treasure told The Gleaner yesterday.

According to the principal, the school was informed by ISSA last week that the students in question, who are in classes two and three, had not met the qualifying standards to participate in the four-day championships, even though they performed well at qualifying meets leading up to the championships.

Listed as non-starters

However, when school officials turned up at the meet with the sole athlete representing the school - a female - it was discovered that the four students were down to participate but were eventually listed as non-starters as they were absent.

"This foul-up really messed us up," said an obviously disappointed Treasure. "It's not just a disappointment for the students, it costs us a lot of money to prepare them. They may not be top athletes, but they need a chance like the others."

Treasure disclosed that the female athlete was also told initially that she did not qualify, but after protests from officials at York Castle she was allowed to participate.

Treasure said York Castle, the alma mater of Olympic 400m hurdles champion Deon Hemmings, was in the process of rebuilding its track and field team and the situation only served to dampen the spirits of the school population and the entire community of Brown's Town, as none of the other schools in the town were taking part in the championships.

Efforts to get a comment from ISSA were unsuccessful.