Preparing for Inter Secondary Schools Athletics 2011

Following the completion of the Annual Inter Secondary Schools Athletics Championships 2010 the Athletics Sub Committee of the Schools Games Committee submitted a comprehensive Report on the event that included several important recommendations for the enhancement of the event in the future.
At the beginning of this year, 5 January 2011 the Athletics Sub Committee held its first meeting and outlined its approach which follows on sequentially from and consistent with last year’s event which, from all reports was at an all time high.
Important Dates
The Girls Heats and Final of 5000m Boys will come off on Wednesday 23 March 2011 at the Arnos Vale Playing Field while the Boys Heats and Final of 3000m Girls are scheduled for the following day, Thursday 24 March. The Grand Final of this year’s Inter Secondary Schools Athletics Championships will take place at Arnos Vale on Thursday 31 March 2011 beginning promptly at 9:00am.
The Registration deadline for all schools desirous of participating in this year’s Inter Secondary Schools Championships is 11 March. Indications are that no late registrations would be accepted. This is critical to the maintenance of high standards and a ;level of professionalism.
Registration Forms were delivered to the Principals earlier this week. The expectation is that as soon as the schools complete their own sports they would complete and submit their Registration Forms.
Meet Management
Consistent with the Policy, the Athletics Sub Committee is headed by the national association – Team Athletics St Vincent and the Grenadines. There is a Secretariat headed by Mr Curtis Greaves and Keisha Sutherland, which handles the registration as well as all aspects of the preparation of the programme, the Heats and Finals Lists and results management. The workload of this Committee is particularly important since it serves as the ‘nerve centre’ of the Championships. It is also the Committee that has the most work before and during the competition and is often the recipient of the most stinging criticisms.
A Jury of Appeal has already been appointed. This group has responsibility for addressing the queries brought before them by any individual or institution that remains dissatisfied following the decisions of the respective officials in respect of protests. The decision of the Jury is final.
The Technical Committee which deals with Technical officials, Equipment & Field Preparation, Venue Layout; Measurement and Marking; Flags; Podium; Tents is headed by Mr Woodrow ‘Keylee’ Williams.
The other Committees are:
1.     Event Presentation (PA Systems; Announcing; Music; Media Liaison  & Promotions; T – Shirts; Programmes & Invitations)
Education Media Unit
2. Medical Committee
Dr Perry De Freitas
3.     Protocol (Opening and Closing Ceremonies; Greeting & Seating VIPs; Awards Presentation)
The Principals Association
4.     Refreshments (Snacks; Lunches; Ice)
Mrs Ingrid Robinson
5. Environmental Management (Clean Environment in all areas)
Mr Charles Samuel
6. Security (Security Plan; Random Searches; Crowd Control; Teacher Presence)
Assistant Superintendent Johnathan Nichols
No sports event can be successful in the absence of volunteers. Most of the Technical Officials and other persons working in and around the annual Inter Secondary Schools Championships are volunteers.
This year the Athletics Sub Committee is making a concerted effort to lift the profile of the volunteers involved in the event. Volunteers who are identified for specific areas of work would be involved in training and would be expected to carry out their functions in a professional manner at all times during all three phases of the competition.
Special attention would be paid to the training and evaluation of the Technical Officials, announcers and awards presentation personnel.
Attempts are being made to develop a cadre of volunteers for sport in St Vincent and the Grenadines. One expected that this would have been one of the legacies of the Cricket World Cup 2007 but this proved not to be the case. Beginning with this year’s Inter Secondary Schools Athletics Championships it is expected that efforts would be made to ensure that the cadre brought together for the event would be maintained through a systematic programme that at once retains their interest while facilitating their continued professional development as a National Sports Volunteer Corps.
Effective 2010 the Schools Games Committee accepted the following recommendations from the Athletics Sub Committee to stand as policies governing the annual event. The following policies, established in 2010, were duly approved for 2011 and would form part of the official Schools Games Policy of the Ministry of Education:
1.      No late registration accepted. This is important to the efficient conduct of the Championships. Additionally, changes would only be accepted in special circumstances where appropriate evidence is provided to the Sub Committee.
2.      No private vending. Concessions distributed amongst schools. This position has been adopted to facilitate the schools that are involve din the competition as well as put an end to the slew of problems experienced in the past in terms of adherence to the stipulations of the event.
3.      No glass bottles allowed into the Arnos Vale Sports Complex. This is am standing requirement of the National Sports Council, proprietors of the Arnos Vale Sports Complex. There have been instances in the past where this was not rigidly adhered to and severe problems arose, causing much concern to principals and parents alike regarding the safety of their children at the annual event.
4.      No alcoholic beverages allowed into the Complex. Here again this is an important feature in respect of the conduct of the Championships.
5.      Appropriate music must be played at all times. In the past the music played by the DJs at some school sports and again at the Inter Secondary Schools Athletics Championships have not been consistent with what is expected at a school function. In some instances the music has simply been oriented towards violence and even some measure of indecency. This is no longer permitted.
6.      Parking only for vehicles with passes. No parking on Arnos Vale #2. The rationale is simple. Of all the sports held between schools in this country the Annual Inter Secondary Schools Athletics Championships is by far the single largest in terms of attendance. There is usually too many patrons for the facility to accommodate vehicles beyond those with designated passes. Additionally, Arnos Vale # 2 is the designated area for the Throws and Jumps – except the High Jump. It also serves as the area for warm-up of athlete sin the running events since there is not enough space inside Arnos Vale # 1 to facilitate this and the competition at the same time.
7.      Schools must utilise official competition uniforms and numbers. This is part of the efforts to professionalise the competition. Schools must use their designated uniforms complete with their allocated numbers. Uniformity makes for a particularly good showing at the competition. Schools can easily be identified and the patrons can be fully involved in supporting their respective teams.
8.      No school officials allowed onto the field or into the Results Management area unless accompanied by a Marshall. This is standard practice. I tis expected that should problems arise the appropriate regulations governing the Championships must be applied at all times.
9. Only participating student athletes and authorised school personnel must attend the Heats. Increasingly, schools and the Ministry of Education are concerned about loss of instructional time. The Heats are only for participating athletes and supervising teachers/PE personnel. These days are not holidays and the schools continue to operate as normal.
10.   Strict adherence to the NSC policies regarding use of the facility by patrons. The NSC has its own regulations governing use of its facilities at Arnos Vale. The contract is between the Ministry of Education and the NSC. The former therefore has to ensure that all participating schools are made aware of the NSC’s Regulations and adhere to them.
11.   Anyone found sharing passes with unauthorised persons will be removed from the Arnos Vale Facility. The Ministry of Education distributes passes to all participants. It is not intended for distribution amongst non-participants.
The Annual Inter Secondary Schools Athletics Championships are the biggest sports event on the schools calendar each year. One would expect that given the increasingly important role that sports play in the development of the individual and the numerous career options now available each schools would place more emphasis on the inculcation of a healthy attitude towards sports amongst the students.
The Inter Secondary Schools Athletics Championships offers students an opportunity to showcase their skills in track and field Athletics and stake their claim for national representation – the launching of a regional and international career in the sport.
Athletics is the foundation of all outdoor sports and should be taken seriously by all.
Given the planning already in place for this year’s event we can expect good performances and a significantly higher standard of presentation of the event.