CALABAR High School's victory at the 103rd ISSA/GraceKennedy Boys' Championships at the weekend has been hailed as a demonstration of great talent by one the school's most distinguished past students -- former Prime Minister P J Patterson.
"It's the manifestation of good training, teamwork and the depth of talent which the school released," Patterson told a special sitting of the Jamaica Observer Monday Exchange at his St Andrew home yesterday.
Calabar scored a massive 299 points to take the Mortimer Geddes Trophy for the second consecutive year. Jamaica College placed second with 258.5, Kingston College took third place with 247.5, Wolmer's Boys came in fourth with 121, while St Jago, 107; Munro College, 98; STETHS, 49; Holmwood, 48; Petersfield, 34; and Manchester High, 29 rounded out the top 10.
The annual event, at which the girls' championship was also contested, has been hailed as the best ever, given that 30 records were broken over the five days.
Yesterday, Patterson, while savouring the victory of his alma mater, heaped praise on the performances of athletes from other schools at Champs.
"Perhaps what is of greatest significance to me is the remarkable level of performance that was reflected by all the competitors, in both track and field, (from) schools which came from all over the country," he said.
"To break 30 records, some of which have been standing for so long, is really the greatest sign that we must continue to promote sports as one of the vehicles for human development and economic growth," he added.
Joining People's National Party (PNP) Deputy General Secretary Julian Robinson in giving credit to the technical competence of the coaches, Patterson pointed to the role played by The GC Foster College of Physical Education and Sport, a gift from the Government and people of Cuba built in St Catherine in the 1970s when the PNP formed the Government under then Prime Minister Michael Manley.
"I have always said that what has made the most outstanding difference to the quality of performance has been the GC Foster College," Patterson said. "Michael Manley, wherever he is, and Fidel (Castro), must be rejoicing."