Athletics

INSPORTS Basic Schools Champs begins today

Wednesday, June 13, 2018

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More than 2,000 students will compete at this year's 18th staging of the c orporate a rea INSPORTS Basic Schools Athletics Championships which gets under way today and climaxes on Friday, with defending champions Torrington Basic the team to beat.

Main organisers the Institute of Sports (INSPORTS) — the government agency responsible for the promotion and development of sport at the grass-roots level — are hoping for favourable weather this time around after last year's final day had to be abandoned due to heavy and persistent rain.

A winner was not declared.

The state agency's extra drive to increase participation in all its programmes has resulted in an increase in teams taking part in the youngest age-group athletics programme.

The championships have also attracted teams from outside of the corporate area, with schools from as far as Westmoreland and St James confirmed, Sport Minister Olivia Grange announced during the event's media launch at the National Arena hospitality room last Friday.

“So far we have 2,216 entrants; 1,198 boys and 1,118 girls,” Grange said of the 85 schools registered.

“Registration was still open at the time of the launch,” Andrew Hancel, media relations officer at INSPORTS, added on Monday. “However, registration is now officially closed. The official number of teams registered now is 86, and that is 26 more than last year's record. In all a total of 2,631 students are down to compete.

“We are very pleased to have teams from the western end of the island taking part. Providence Heights from St James is one of the teams. These teams will be coming to Kingston on the eve of the event, so they should be well rested and raring to go when the competition starts.”

Approximately $5 million has been invested into the programme, with close to $1 million in prize money to be disbursed. It's the first time teams will receive monetary reward.

“The winning school will receive $50,000; second place, $30,000; and the school coming third, $20,000. and in addition, all schools participating in the competition will receive $5,000 each,” Minister Grange said.

Activities are scheduled to run from 9:00 am through to 3:00 pm each day.

The morning session of the opening day will see action in the girls' standing jump Open, along with the girls' 40m dash potato race.

Twenty-five finals will be contested throughout the three days with the girls' and boys' 4x100m relay Open closing the show.

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