The 103rd ISSA/Grace Kennedy Boys and Girls Athletic Championships, held March 12-17 at the National Stadium in Kingston, Jamaica is being heralded as “the greatest ever” after 30 new records were set, and several spectacular performances.
Calabar High School repeated as boys “Champs” winner with 299 points, with Jamaica College (High School) Flushing second with 258.5 points, and Kingston College (High School) finishing third with 247.5 points. Holmwood High School won the girls “Champs” with 310.5 points, edging out Edwin Allen with 305.5 points and St. Jago at third with 208 points.
From the opening day the form and technique of the 2,600 athletes ages 11 to 19 (Class 4 to Class 1) signaled that this year’s meet would be precedent setting. Among the outstanding performances for the boys were Michael O’Hara of Calabar winning Class 2 100 Meters in 10.49, the 200 Meters in 20.63, and the 110 Meters Hurdles in 13.45 and being voted champion male athlete. Omar McLeod of Kingston College won the Class 1 110 Meters Hurdles in 13.24, and the 400 Meters Hurdles in 49.98; and Fedrick Dacres of Calabar winning the Class 1 Discuss Throw with a throw of 62.80m and the Shot Put with a throw of 19.29m.
Among the girls’ outstanding performances were Kimone Shaw of St. Jago winning the Class 4 200 Meters in a sensational 24.28 and the 100 Meters in 11.75; Jonielle Smith of Wolmer’s winning the Class 2 sprint double, the 100 Meters in 11.58 and the 200 Meters in 23.87; and Rochelle Frazer of Edwin Allen winning the Class 2 Shot Put and Discuss throwing 15.93m and 46.31m respectively.
Since Jamaica’s dominance in male and female sprints over the last two Olympics, many have been asking what is making Jamaican sprinters so successful at world class meets. The pundits point to the “Boys and Girls Champs,” as making the significant difference. Its organization, administration and improved coaching techniques have exposed Jamaican youngsters to keen competition among themselves. And inspired by the great performances of Usain Bolt, Asafa Powell Yohan Blake, Shelley-Ann Fraser-Pryce and others, Jamaican high school athletes strive for their best. Media from Japan, Nigeria, France, the U.S.A, and Brazil, and coaches from the USA, Canada, England, Japan, South Korea and Africa were present.