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Extra day for NAPSAC


Extra day for NAPSAC

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PRIMARY SCHOOL SPORTS’ big comeback has signalled the return of another day of competition.
Seven years after it was initially scrapped, the quarter-final day has been reinserted into the programme for this season’s Pinehill National Primary Schools’ Athletic Championships (NAPSAC) to give more athletes further exposure.
Meet director Janelle Denny made the announcement during yesterday’s press launch at Pinehill Dairy’s headquarters to mark the event’s return after last year’s cancellation.
“It is with the purpose of making sure that we have a wider pool of athletes that are able to advance from the zonal meets on to the next round because you can appreciate that if you go straight to semi-finals there can only be a limited number of athletes,” reasoned Denny.
“And from what we’ve seen over the years, there are a lot of children that are left out. We thought it necessary so this no longer happens. “In 2012 we approached the Ministry of Education in terms of reintroducing this day into the programme and they obliged us from last year, but obviously, because we did not have a championship, we were not able to bring it on stream.
“In terms of days being out from school, it doesn’t matter because we have to understand that there’s a balance that must be struck between athletics and academics,” she added.
It was the major story surrounding the launch of NAPSAC, which had to be scrapped in its entirety last year after repairs to the National Stadium track went beyond the original schedule. Alternative plans were made to take the championships to Kensington Oval until those had to be abandoned when the West Indies Cricket Board invoked its exclusivity clause ahead of last year’s home series. Blenheim was also suggested as a possible venue before that plan too fell through amidst security concerns from several parties.
Everything seems set for later this month when the series starts with its first four zones running from February 24 to 27 at the National Stadium. The James Wedderburn Zone is scheduled for March 3, eight days prior to the quarter-final day. The semis and final are slated for March 18 and 25, respectively.
With the extra day added to the programme, there will now be a different advancement system coming out of the zonal meets. The top four athletes from each zone along with the next 12 best competitors will qualify in every event except the 600 metres and 800 metres.
In those two races, the top six are automatically set to advance while the next fastest 18 athletes will also move forward to the quarter-finals.
The championships are welcoming first-time competitors Angelica Junior High School to the Obadele Thompson Zone and the meets will be streamed live once again at and on the championships’ Facebook page.
Up to Press time, 61 of the 82 primary schools had confirmed their participation ahead of today’s registration deadline.