The 2017 edition of The ISSA/Grace Kennedy Boys and Girls Championships (Champs) is schedule for Tuesday March 28- Saturday April 1 at the National Stadium in Kingston, Jamaica. This 5-day event is perhaps the biggest high school track and field competition in the world in term of its interest and impact. It will be streamed live on the web for those who are unable make it to the National Stadium. The drama and intrigue will be high as defending boys champions, Calabar High School, will be seeking their sixth consecutive hold on the Mortimer Geddes Trophy. Girls champions, Edwin Allen High School, will also seek to defend their title and have the depth and athletes to do so.
Taylor vs. Matterson
The most intriguing showdown has to be the Class 1 200 final that is schedule for Saturday. April 1 This event will pit former IAAF World Youth 400m champion, Christopher Taylor (Calabar) against Jhevaughn Matterson of Kingston College (KC). Taylor, who is a phenomenal talent, will be doing the 200/400m double while Matterson will be pursing the 100/200m double. Both athletes are set to clash in the 200m finals. Taylor is known for his speed endurance while Matterson has established himself this season as the premier sprinter at the high school level. With school pride, bragging rights and championship aspirations at stake, this should be one of the most anticipated match-up of the championship.
The Importance of Champs:
Champs is very important to athletes, schools, old-student associations, general public and Jamaican Government. Champs offers young athletes the opportunity to compete against each other on the biggest stage of their young lives and to showcase their skills. At stake is school pride and bragging rights. This event gives track and field fans a chance to see future stars. After all, Usain Bolt (William Knibb), Veronica Campbell-Brown (Vere Tech) and Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce (Wolmer’s Girls) are just few of Jamaica’s global superstars who competed at Champs. Champs is the place where stars are born and performances are etched in the folklore of Jamaican track and field history.
The importance of Champs cannot be overlooked; it is considered a recruiting hotbed for local and foreign coaches. The young athlete who does well may catch the eye of foreign college coaches who are looking for talented athletes to build their program. So recruiting is a key element or side-effect of Champs. Coaches who are unable to make the trip to Jamaica will be paying close attention to Champs. Stars are born at Champs and nearly all of Jamaica’s current sprinting stars competed at Champs.
New Rules for 2017 Champs
As with any events that have stood the test of time, Champs since its inaugural season back in 1910, has continue to grow and evolve. For the 2017 event, the Inter-secondary School Sports Association (ISSA) has implemented a few new rules, aimed at protecting the athletes from excessive workload. For 2017, track athletes are now restricted to two individual events and two relays races. Also female athletes who competes in the heptathlon can now do only one other event - in the past, they were allowed to do three other events. In the past, the boys 400m hurdles was an open event, where boys from Class 1, II and III were allowed to compete against each other. For 2017, ISSA has also introduced the boys Class II 400m hurdles.
Ticket Prices ($JM):
Tuesday, March 28 – Admission Free
Wednesday & Thursday (Grandstand only) Children $100; Adult $500
Friday, March 31 - Bleachers $500; Grandstand $3,500
Saturday, April 1 - Bleachers $1,500; Grandstand $5,000
Season Tickets Premium $10,000
Season Tickets Regular $9,000
Streaming (Pay-Per-View) www.1spotmedia.com
Edited by Raymond Byfield