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A THORNY ISSUE: Athletes have done well


ANDI THORNHILL, [email protected]

A THORNY ISSUE: Athletes have done well

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If we use the 27 records set as a benchmark, we will have to conclude that the Barbados Secondary Schools Athletic Championships were a success.
The old adage that records are made to be broken cannot be disputed, but it also serves to measure if there has been any improvement  in the sport.
I also want to state that the fierce competition that emanates in such a setting makes it rudimentary for records to be shattered.
There is no other competition where school colours are worn with such pride and honour.
This is seen not only among students but extends to old scholars who make it a point to attend the games once it is convenient.
The five days of the secondary championships combined all of these elements and it was admirable to see the high level of behaviour and fellowship exhibited between athletes and spectators despite the battles for glory and bragging rights.
I was very impressed, especially in field events like the javelin, shot put and discus, that the athletes while being competitors, in some instances from opposing schools, still encouraged each other.
I think this is a wonderful approach that tends to make friends and not enemies even if we are going after the same prize and want to win it badly. You see, at the end of the day, an athlete’s real duel is against the clock and the tape.
It is true that a few field marshalls by performance can motivate the ranks to lift their standard way beyond what they had planned or thought they were capable of.
This was evident during the championships and the efforts of individuals who excelled were able to assist their school to do well.
The joint victor and victrix exemplified this model.
 Anthonio Mascoll and Shamar Rock were the bedrock of improved showings from Ellerslie and Lester Vaughan respectively.
The same can be said about Akela Jones (Springer Memorial) and Cristanna McConney (Queen’s College).
In retrospect, it is the collective effort that fetches the titles. The desire to conquer plays a great part, too, in what you are able to achieve ultimately.
Springer Memorial once again topped the charts with quiet ruthlessness.
I think a lot of us doubted whether they would win the championship by a runaway margin as in previous years.
I understand there was that uncertainty even in their camp and motivational songs were used at one assembly prior to the final two days to help reassure them that all things were possible.
I hear the argument year after year that Springer win because as an all girl unit they have the numbers to choose from and while there maybe some merit to it, I have concluded that some schools concede to the Government Hill queens even before competition starts.
In essence, Springer wins the psychological war as well so once you put one and one together there is little wonder that they run the town.
My own calculations that Queen’s College would have won the boys’ championship based on the number of qualifiers they had in the various events going into the last two days, stood the test but yet again it all comes down to performing to make it a reality.
They responded admirably in the face of sustained challenges from Harrison College whom they dethroned, Ellerslie, Lester Vaughan and St Leonard’s.  
I am convinced that if Ellerslie and St Leonard’s can broaden their base they can become champions very soon. They must be able to provide a two-pronged attack to be victorious, that is to say they must be competitive
in all age groups and equally as productive in the field through these same channels.
My favourite performance of the meet? Tiny 11-year-old Mary Fraser slamming much older girls in the open 3 000 metres and in record time.  
Who’s to say that she didn’t help to inspire her fellow students from St George Secondary who raised some eyebrows in a few of the track events?
The process to improve, to excel, and win championships next year should have started already.  
FINAL POINTS:
Girls
1. Springer Memorial 372.50, 2. Queen’s College 234, 3. The St Michael School 220, 4. Harrison College 177.50, 5. Combermere 145, 6. Parkinson Memorial 125, 7. Coleridge & Parry 118, 8. Garrison Secondary 86, 9. Lester Vaughan 80, 10. Alleyne 73, 11. St George Secondary 68, 12. Christ Church Foundation 59, 13. St Lucy Secondary 53, 14. Deighton Griffith 43, 15. Princess Margaret 36, 16. The Lodge School 27, 17. Grantley Adams Memorial 24, 18. St James Secondary 23, 19. Ellerslie 16, 20. Alexandra 11.
Boys
1. Queen’s College 262, 2. Harrison College 231, 3. The Lodge School 191, 4. Ellerslie 189, 5. St Leonard’s Boys 175, 6. Lester Vaughan 153, 6. Combermere 153, 8. Christ Church Foundation 148.50, 9. Alleyne 102, 10. Coleridge & Parry 81, 11. The St Michael School 64, 11. Alexandra 64, 13. Deighton Griffith 56, 14. Princess Margaret 53, 15. St George Secondary 36, 16. Garrison Secondary 34, 17. St James Secondary 28.50, 18. St Lucy Secondary 21, 19. Grantley Adams 16, 20. Alma Parris 14, 21. Parkinson Memorial 7.
• Andi Thornhill is sports editor at the Caribbean Broadcasting Corporation and can be reached at [email protected]

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