The last hurrah!

INSPORTS All-Age & Junior High Champs chapter comes to an end with 40th run

BY GERALD REID
Observer writer

Wednesday, April 25, 2018

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Defending champions Windward Road and John Mills will once again resume their battle at the 2018 two-day Institute of Sports (INSPORTS) All-Age and Junior High Schools Athletics Championships, beginning today at the National Stadium, starting at 9:00 am.

This will be the 40th and final staging of the annual Championships, which has produced several athletes who have represented Jamaica in international meets over the years. It was also long considered as a feeder for high school programmes.

With only 10 schools from the 26 which participated last year, the championships has been cut to two days from the usual three days.

The other participating schools are Cockburn Gardens, Calabar, New Day, Maverley, Swallowfield, Shortwood Practising, Constant Spring, and Mico Practising.

Windward Road broke the record 19-year reign of the powerful John Mill, by winning for the past five years. However, John Mills have won the championships more than any other school — 22 times.

Oral Whilby, coach of Windward Road, is confident of retaining the title and is looking forward to his fifth-consecutive triumph.

“Windward Road are in good stead; we have a competent team to defend the title. It is the last championship and we want to get our name of that trophy. We are well-prepared, we have a strong unit, and we should turn away all comers come Thursday,” he said.

Ransford Spaulding, who is the coach of John Mills, and also the country's record-winning coach, is hoping that he can end with another victory.

“We won 19 years straight (titles) and 22 overall. Since they (INSPORTS) have added the smaller age groups their (Windward Road) advantage is more significant than ours, because they have about five classes (for each grade) and we have just one each in our primary section,” said Spaulding.

“Plus they have cut out about 150 points from the championship, so we will have to see how day one goes then we can determine what position we can finish. But the senior department is always good, and although we cannot say we will win or lose, we will be trying our best.”

Meanwhile, 13 finals will be contested today. They are girls' high jump open, Class Two boys' long jump, girls' shot put open, Class Two girls' long jump, boys' high jump open, boys' and girls' classes one, two, three and four 100 metres.

Other events scheduled in the preliminary rounds today are 60 metres for boys' and girls' classes five and six; 800m open for boys and girls, 200m for classes one, two, three and four; 150m for Class Five and Six boys and girls, 60m dash for Class Six boys and girls, and 4x400 metres open for boys and girls.

INSPORTS has contributed $825,000 in prize money to purchase sports equipment for the top three schools, $150,000 for the champions, followed by $75,000 for the second place, and $50,000 for third place.

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