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by Michael Bascombe

The time has come for an urgent overhaul of the Annual Secondary Schools’ Athletic Championships. Except for the two triple events added this year, and only announced about a week ago, the current format is cheating our athletes of the opportunity to exhibit their true potential.
As one of the top five Secondary Schools’ Track and Field Championships in the region there must be ‘drastic’ changes to the schedule, including expansion, to ensure that our athletes are given adequate competition.
Since 2000, proposals were sent to the Secondary Schools’ Principal Association, organisers of the Inter-col Meet. These proposals were updated and re-submitted more than once within the last decade.
The stadium in its current condition could accommodate just about every track and field event including pole vault. It’s unfair for athletes to compete in hurdles at their school sports but not at Inter-col.
Additionally, Grenada has done very well in the Heptathlon at the CARIFTA Games but the event is not reflected in the Inter-col schedule.
For example, at the CARIFTA Games Grenada has won more ‘quality’ medals than any other competing country in the Heptathlon event between 2004 and 2011.
2004 – Silver & Bronze; 2005 – Gold & Silver; 2006 – Gold & Bronze; 2007 – Gold; 2008 – No Medal; 2009 – No Competitors; 2010 – Bronze and 2011 – Silver & Bronze.
A contributor to this medal haul is Kurt Felix who is currently among the top Decathlete in Colleges in the United States.
Ladies and Gentlemen, the time has come for the Ministries of Sports and Education to play a more active role in the future of the Games. The Principals may mean well but fresh thinking needs to be given priority.
The recent proposal for a three or four-day championship will allow adequate rest for athletes competing in high intensity events as well as some of the field events where there are remarkable performances, but lest attention.
Our athletes are already at a disadvantaged by competing in only two (2) rounds in the 100, 200 and 400 metres. IAAF rules stipulate that preliminary rounds shall be held in Track Events in which the number of athletes is too large to allow the competition to be conducted satisfactorily in a single round (final).
This means that under the proposed changes there will be at least three or four rounds of competition in some of the Track Events.
Best wishes to all athletes, officials and spectators for the 2012 edition of this great sporting spectacle.
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