May 2019 Volume 15


Hugh Reid
Text Size
  • -
  • +
  • reset

The Issa/Grace Kennedy Champs is one of the largest high school track and field championships in the world. Founded in 1910 as a one- day sports day for 6 of Jamaica’s oldest high schools it has now grown into 5-day event featuring over 3,000 athletes which attracts the diaspora, particularly alumnae from high schools in Jamaica, as well as visitors from all over the world. CHAMPS 2019 can be best described by the following moments of controversy and superlatives (space restricts me to coverage primarily from the perspective of the boys), in no order of ranking, as listed below.

1. SUPERLATIVE - In 2017, I wrote in the KC times that …. never in the 107-year history of our beloved CHAMPS has a school accumulated over 300 points and not emerged victorious… Well in 2019 it was Calabar’s turn to accumulate 313 points and yet end up second to a superlative KC team which amassed a record setting 395.5 points. Surely a 400 points CHAMPS is not far away!

2. CONTROVERSY - Usually every CHAMPS has its moments of controversy but this year’s championship was embroiled in controversy from before it even started after Calabar Physics teacher Sanjaye Shaw alleged he had been assaulted by C’bar top sprinters Chris Taylor and De'Jour Russell. The revelation of the assault led to widespread calls for the school to pull its two biggest stars from the championships, but C’bar did not budge.

3. SUPERLATIVE - The class one 800 metres had been hyped for weeks before CHAMPS when C’bar’s Kimar Farquharson and Enid Bennett’s Tyrice Taylor ran below 1.49 in pre CHAMPS meets. At CHAMPS the race lived up to its hype as Farquharson won in 1.48.63 breaking the 1.48.84 record set by Sherwin Burgess 32 years ago. Taylor proved his mettle with a 1.48.91 run joining Farquharson and Kenroy Levy as the only boys to run under 1.49 at CHAMPS. KC’s Tarees Rhoden showing true FORTIS spirit finished third in a PB of 1.49.04, a time which would have won every class one 800m final except the 1987 Burgess-Levy classic and this one.

4. CONTROVERSY - The universally notorious zero tolerance one false start rule generated huge controversy due to the large number of athletes disqualified at this year’s CHAMPS, due to this rule, with one journalist referring to this year’s event as the ’False Champs’. In addition, there were an inordinate amount of deliberate false starts by athletes who were registered for both sprints, but for one reason or another, decided only to compete in one, but were mandated to turn up for both or face expulsion from the championships. The controversy was heightened by several of the disqualifications ending up in reversals and reruns.

5. SUPERLATIVE - KC’s Wayne Pinnock broke the 26-year old class one long jump record set in 1993 by Vere’s Leon Gordon by 8 centimetres and then went further by leaping 8.05 metres for gold, the joint 12th longest jump by a Jamaica male all time! He then broke C’bar’s Dejour Russell’s 2018 class one 110m hurdles record on Saturday with a superlative run of 13.06 seconds. Surely a sub 13 seconds run in the class one 110m hurdles is not far away! It should be noted that only 3 men have run faster in the world so far this year.

6. CONTROVERSY – CHAMPS 2019 continued the tradition of superlative and world class performances from Edwin Allen’s Tina Clayton world age group record of 11.27 seconds in the 100m to JC’s Chris Scott spectacular class three 100m record run of 10.69. T&T’s Ato Boldon has however lamented that for all the world class talent Jamaica produces, too few make it to the top of the world stage. In that regard, it is instructive that only two female Jamaica sprinters, Veronica Campbell Brown and Brianna Williams in 2018 (who is based in the US and is not a product of CHAMPS), have won the IAAF World U-20 100m final.

7. SUPERLATIVE - Ashanti Moore won gold in the Class 1 100m with a world leading under 20 time of 11.17 seconds. More spectacularly, this time is the joint fastest time in the world by a woman in the 100m this year! Ashanti also went on to win gold in the 200m securing the much sought after class one sprint double.

8. CONTROVERSY - Videos showing scores of Calabar students derogating KC in a homophobic chant, surfaced just days following the 32nd ISSA/Grace Boys Championships victory by KC. The footage drew howls of condemnation from various quarters with C’bar old boys issuing apologies on behalf of the present-day students on several social media platforms. A Calabar High School delegation, led by acting principal Calvin Rowe, visited Kingston College (KC) on Tuesday April 2 to offer an apology for the derogatory chant. The delegation included principal Albert Corcho, who is on a leave of absence, and head boy Andre McKenzie, who read the apology in front of a packed chapel at North Street.

9. SUPERLATIVE - KC is having a superlative year in sports as demonstrated by the following trophies, with pride of place going to winning CHAMPS and the Manning Cup after 10-year and 32-year droughts respectively.

2018 Under 16 Colts Football Champions

2018 Under 19 Manning Cup Football Champions

2019 Debate Champions

2019 Corporate Area Champs Champions (Athletics)

2019 Digicel Grand Prix Winners (Athletics)

2019 ISSA Boys Athletics Champs Champions

2019 Runner-Ups in TVJ School's Challenge Quiz 50th Anniversary

2019 Runner-Ups in Under 16 Table Tennis

2018 Semi-Finalists in Under 19 Lacrosse.

Prepared by Hugh Reid

#TeamFortis #Champs2019 #Project32 #NeverYielding

Top of Page