Inter Schools Athletics Championships all set
The stage is now set for the annual Inter Secondary Schools Athletics Championships. The Girls Heats took place on Wednesday last while the Boys Heats were run off one day later, Thursday 24 March. The Finals are set for Thursday 31 March 2011 at the Arnos Vale Sports Complex.
Already the schools are keen on making their impact with the newer institutions laying down the gauntlet to the more traditional ones. Last year’s winner of the Boys Division was the Thomas Saunders Secondary School with the Bethel High Schools taking the Girls Championship title.
The Athletics Sub Committee of the Schools Games Committee, headed by Team Athletics St Vincent and the Grenadines, has been engaged in its preparatory work for some time and is satisfied that this year’s event would be filled with excitement befitting the occasion. The numerous Athletics activities hosted by TASVG thus far for the year has allowed many of the athletes opportunities to hone their skills and show their coaches where they have reached in their preparation for the big Competition
Planning is an essential component of the success of the Championships and the Committee has paid particular attention to this aspect of the preparatory exercise..
The Secretariat falls under the management of Curtis Greaves and involves the utilization of the latest available HY-TEK Meet Manager system for the compiling of the Heats and Finals lists of all athletes in their various events. This technology facilitates the smooth operations of the Championships in a most objective manner.
Thus year the Championships Finals would witness the use of a complete photo-finish/electronic timing system thanks to the collaboration between Team Athletics St Vincent and the Grenadines and the National Association of Athletics Administration (NAAA), the governing body for the sport of Athletics in St Vincent and the Grenadines. This would be a first for St Vincent and the Grenadines and a welcome feature to the competition.
Mr Woodrow Williams, the lone Vincentian International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) – certified National Instructor of technical officials, carries the responsibility for all technical matters.
The team of technical officials can make or break an event. They carry and due attention is being paid to ensure that they operate in a most professional manner.
In the contemporary period Athletics competitions have returned to the ol days when they were considered entertainment. This year the packaging of the competition should satisfy this requirement. Care has been taken to ensure competent announcers accompanied bu music befitting an event of the stature planned.
The actual track would take on a novel appearance with plants decorating the length of the length of the home straight and around the awards ceremony podium.
The medal support team would be decked in a uniform consistent with the medals they bear in their respective waiters and shall follow a protocol established by the IAAF for awards ceremonies.
Care has been taken to facilitate due time for the awards ceremonies to allow winners to receive due acknowledgement by the enthusiastic patrons.
The Secondary Schools Principals Association bears responsibility for all protocol matters. The VIPs would be located in the President’s Suite and shall receive due attention deserving of their status at the competition.
Medal presenters will be accompanied from the President’s Suite through to the Awards Presentation arena and back to their seats in accordance with tradition.
Dr Perry De Freitas heads the medical component of the Championships, ably assisted by Denis Byam and the Red Cross.
All necessary medicaments have been procured and the medical team would have had a trial run on the two days of Heats earlier this week.
There shall be a medical tent at the bottom of the field, adjacent to the fence by the Bleachers and another just off the back straight of the track. The main medical facility would be downstairs the President’s Suite, which is appropriately outfitted. An ambulance would be on hand at the Sports Complex and the Milton Cato memorial Hospital has been appropriately notified of the event and the possibility of case requiring urgent attention.
Athletes have been advised to hydrate properly before and after events and to stay away from direct sunlight as much as possible if they are to give of their best
ASP Johnathan Nichols is head of this aspect of the planning. Over the years the security has been well prepared and all appropriate notices of the actions being taken presented to the Principals and Physical Education Teachers at a joint meeting held at the JP Eustace Memorial Secondary School on Monday 21 March.
Nichols indicated that the security forces would facilitate the safety of the students and patrons at the Heats and Finals. At the conclusion of each day’s events the Police would ‘sweep’ the Arnos Vale Sports Complex to ensure that no one remains at the facility. Parents expect that their children would return home safely and immediately following the conclusion of the competition and one way of helping them is by clearing the compound.
Patrons and participants are subject to search for items prohibited by the established policies of both the Ministry of Education and the National Sports Council as well as the Police. Illegal activities would not be permitted.
Indications are that the Police would seek to be unobtrusive as much as possible but proceed to act swiftly in the event of problems that pose a threat to the well being of the event, its participants and patrons.
Mr Charles Samuel takes responsibility for the management of the environment during the days of the Heats and Finals of this year’s competition. He has the full support of the National Olympic Committee’s Sport and the Environment Commission, headed by Nigel Weekes.
Already they have prepared posters aimed at encouraging patrons and athletes to make good use of the bins available for the disposal of garbage. Brochures have also been prepared for distribution to those in attendance as part of the overall sensitization drive in respect of the value of maintaining a clean, healthy environment at all times.
The responsibility for the promotion of this year’s event, sponsored buy the National Lotteries Authority and the St Vincent Corrugated Container Corporation lies with Mrs Barrow-Williams.
The Athletics Sub Committee commissioned a logo competition as part of the branding exercise for this year’s Championships. The winning entry has been used on all the promotional materials along with the logos of the sponsors in keeping with international trends in sport.
There is a very dynamic television advertisement that has athletes, principals, PE Teachers, coaches and the sporting populace at large excited about this year’s Championships. There is now an air of expectation a bout the friendly rivalries at Arnos Vale on 31 March.
As part of this year’s promotional activities some outstanding athletes of the past have been taken to schools around the country, affording students to hear from them and ask pertinent questions. Several radio programmes have also been used to promote the Championships.
The Ministry of Education has put policies in place for the Competition that are worth repeating here.
1. The no bottle policy that governs all sporting events at the Arnos Vale Sports Complex will be in effect.
2. Buses transporting participating teams to and from the Championships must adhere to all existing traffic regulations governing the number of passengers in accordance with their respective licences.
3. Competing athletes must be in their respective school’s competition uniform bearing their allocated number.
4. Students wearing uniforms to the Championships must remain in them for the duration of the day and stay in their allocated stands
5. Athletes found exchanging passes at any time will be expelled from the Arnos Vale Sports Complex
6. Physical Education Teachers and other school representatives are not allowed into the Call Room or onto the competition arena for the duration of the Championships.
7. Absolutely no alcoholic beverages will be allowed into the Complex.
8. Participating athletes must use the stands to which they have been allocated.
9. Only the designated pathway from the Athletes’ Stands must be used by the participating athletes in movement to and from the Warm Up area and from the Competition arena.
10. Security measures in place for the Championships involves random searches of persons entering the Complex for the Championships
The Inter Secondary Schools Athletics Championships 2011 should be most memorable. If all participants strive to give of their best we can expect patrons to feel satisfied that we are back on track headed to the glory days of Athletics in the nation’s schools.