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AWRIGHT DEN: BSSAC vs CARIFTA


COREY WORRELL

AWRIGHT DEN: BSSAC vs CARIFTA

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IN MY OPINION, the most exciting and most followed national event in Barbados is inter-school sports, officially known as the Barbados Secondary Schools’ Athletic Championships (BSSAC).

Inter-school Sports creates such a buzz that Barbadians everywhere not only celebrate the athletes but also vociferously and hysterically support our alma maters.

Today, I want to give my thoughts on BSSAC, which is my favourite national event.

1. Coverage of BSSAC

I want to give heartfelt thanks to the Caribbean Broadcasting Corporation (CBC) for their coverage of BSSAC 2015.

Ann-Marie Burke, Mark Seale, Cherita Odell and Damien Best, you guys did an excellent job. Damien’s commentary was very exciting, especially during the sprint relays. It would be a treat to the public if he could pair with Andy Thornhill next year in this regard. Cherita, Mark and Ann-Marie, I thank you for educating the public about the rules and procedures for each event, giving the history lesson on past athletes and records and explaining the language used in each discipline.

I did have one major concern with CBC’s coverage. Rather than cutting the feed to bring the midday news, resulting in the public not seeing the heats of the Under-20 Boys’ 100m, maybe a spilt screen approach could have been used.

2. BSSAC versus CARIFTA

The qualifying period for CARIFTA, based on the Athletics Association of Barbados’ website is January 1 to March 8, 2015 but the BSSAC finals were held this year on March 26 and 27, after the qualifying period. Although athletes can compete at either the Louis Lynch Games (LLG) or the CARIFTA Games Trials (CGT) held between February 21 and 22 and March 6 and 8, respectively, athletes tend to perform way better and with greater passion at BSSAC and statistics have shown that.

Mario Burke and Jaquone Hoyte ran in the 100m: 10.60 (LLG), 10.47 (CGT), 10.35 (BSSAC) and 10.77 (LLG), 10.61 (CGT), 10.46 (BSSAC) respectively.

Rivaldo Leacock and Stephen Griffith ran in the 400m hurdles: 52.57 (LLG), 52.92 (CGT) 51.64 (BSSAC) and 53.98 (LLG), 53.62 (CGT), 52.96 (BSSAC), respectively.

Michael Nicholls ran in the 110m hurdles: 13.86 (LLG), 13.82 (CGT), 13.59 (BSSAC).

These five athletes are part of the Barbados CARIFTA team and have better times at BSSAC than at other trials. Evidence has shown that there is also a greater possibility of injury occurring at BSSAC which could hinder them attending CARIFTA and may prevent them from being seen by the many international scouts who attend.

Michael Nicholls, Sada Williams and Tristan Evelyn all received “injuries” during the final days of BSSAC and what is most worrying is that they are all medal contenders at CARIFTA but only had one week to recover since the Barbados team was scheduled to leave for St Kitts yesterday.

Since our athletes seem to perform better at BSSAC, which increases their chances of achieving CARIFTA qualifying times, (e.g. Tramaine Smith and Josiah Atkins), should the games be moved to early March or late February, which would also give more time for recovery in the event of injury?

Which is more important, BSSAC or CARIFTA? If an athlete qualifies for CARIFTA before BSSAC, should they be expected to execute at 100 per cent capacity at the local games (some being overworked by being placed in multiple events to collect points), increasing the chance of injury, or should they give a moderate performance and save their best for the regional championships, which present greater opportunities?

3. Statistics, Communication and Information

Both the BSSAC and the AAB websites need overhauling. They lack pertinent information and the user interface is outdated. I had to use Google to find the names of the Barbados team heading to CARIFTA.

Congrats to my alma mater, Christ Church Foundation School, for being the overall winners of BSSAC 2015 with 444.5 points (boys and girls) and to The Lester Vaughan School – where I had my best teaching experience – for being the boys’ champions.

• Corey Worrell is a former Commonwealth Youth Ambassador. Email [email protected]

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