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WESTERN SPORTS - Primary schools ready for JPS Western Champs

Published:Saturday | May 24, 2014 | 12:00 AM

Western Bureau:

Six new schools will debut at this year's return of the Jamaica Public Service (JPS) Western Primary Schools' Athletic Championship, which is set for June 14 at the Montego Bay Sports Complex, Catherine Hall.

Defending overall champions Howard Cooke Primary are expected to face serious competition from former champions, Wakefield Primary, Barracks Road Primary, and contenders Corinaldi Avenue Primary School.

The JPS has been the title sponsor since inception, and Winsome Callum, who spoke at the press launch to reaffirm her company's association with the meet, called it a mutually benefiting relationship and urged the young athletes to hold a positive outlook in spite of placing.

"I want you to know that by the mere fact you competed and completed your race, once you have done your best, you are all winners," she said.

"At JPS, we have a role in the development of this country. We believe deeply that our role goes beyond the light poles and wires, but deep in the fabric of social development, especially in our youths," Callum said.

The perennial title chasers are joined this year by Hanover-based primary schools Askenish, Green Island Primary, and Dundee; Kew Primary from Westmoreland; Flanker Primary (St James); and Lowe River Primary from Trelawny.

More than 1,000 students from 21 primary schools from across the western region and from St Ann are expected to grace the track.

The most thrilling races could come in the Class Three Boys' events over 100m and 200m, where Enfield Primary's Omar Locke, last year's overall champion boy, will clash with Howard Cooke's Lanceford Cunningham over 200m.

Wakefield, back-to-back winners in 2011 and 2012, will have Akeem Dennis and Leighton Whittingham as their best prospects for a medal in the sprints.

"We are very pleased to have these debutant schools with us this year, and we look forward to the challenge they no doubt will pose to the established schools," said meet director Albert Ferguson at Tuesday's press launch at the International University of the Caribbean.

- P. C.