S.W. Isaac-Henry track meet returns February 18
FOLLOWING a two-year hiatus due to the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic, the S.W. Isaac-Henry Track and Field Invitational, named in honour of the former principal of St Andrew Technical High School, will return on February 18 at the National Stadium for its seventh staging.
The meet, which is used as a qualifier for the ISSA/GraceKennedy Boys and Girls’ Championships, is also seen as a final warm-up for the February 25 Gibson-McCook relays.
Speaking at the launch held at the Spanish Court Hotel in New Kingston yesterday, Garth Gayle, president of the Jamaica Athletics Administration Association, said track meets such as the Isaac-Henry Invitational are the breeding ground for our future stars.
“With our local meets we are able to showcase our junior and our senior athletes, so what we want to do is ensure that they continue to earn ranking points in order for them to compete at World Junior meets.
“The competition has been stern over the years because of the rivalry that the secondary schools bring. In the boys’ department with the likes of Jamaica College, Calabar High and Kingston College and in the girls’ category with Edwin Allen High, Holmwood Technical High, Hydel High and others. These high rivalries have led to the very competitive nature of our competitions,” said Gayle.
Worrell Hibbert, principal of St Andrew Technical High School, believes it is of utmost importance that the memory of former headmaster S.W. Isaac-Henry lives on throughout the staging of this meet which is scheduled to see competition in over 70 events – 39 track and 31 field.
“Isaac-Henry was probably the last of the great headmasters in this country. Part of his legacy has always been school discipline and school integration and student progress. So it’s important that we continue with this tradition because it speaks to the holistic development. Sports provide the best avenue, I think, for them to get out of their circumstances and I think that is the reason why quite a lot of students are interested in sports. I think the more we encourage participation in sports, the better it will be for the students,” Hibbert added.
The 2023 staging of the S.W Isaac-Henry will also honour past student and renowned local coach Michael Carr. Carr who is currently the head coach of the Wolmer’s Girls’ track team has played a big part in the development of many of Jamaica’s national, regional and International champions including many-time Olympic and World champion Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce.
He was very appreciative of the gesture by the organising committee of the meet.
“It’s an awesome feeling, It is also a feeling that will motivate you and let you know that what you’re doing is not going in vain. The powers that be thought that I deserve it, so I do appreciate it,” Carr said.
The established coach also stated that development meets such as these give junior athletes a taste of the competitive nature of track and field.
“If you look at what we have been doing on the world stage, it is a reflection of what we’re doing at the junior stage. So, this meet is one of those steps that I would encourage any athlete to take,” said Carr.