JIS: Approximately 3,100 athletes from high schools islandwide will be on show at the annual Inter-Secondary Schools Sports Association (ISSA)/GraceKennedy Boys and Girls’ Athletics Championships at the National Stadium in Kingston from March 28 to April 1.

 

A special opening ceremony will be held at the stadium on Friday, March 31, beginning at 5:00 p.m. Minister of Culture, Gender, Entertainment and Sport, Hon. Olivia Grange, and other government officials are expected to attend.

 

Competitions Officer of ISSA, George Forbes, told JIS News that the teams from the schools are making final preparations.

 

“A lot of schools have been collecting their packages, checking to ensure they have entered,” noting that all the athletes would have attained the qualifying standard to enter Champs.

 

Among the top schools participating are Calabar High, Wolmer’s High, Jamaica College, St. Jago High, Kingston College, Titchfield High, Immaculate Conception High, Munro College and The Queen’s School.

 

However, Mr. Forbes said they are now seeing an influx of athletes from other schools across Jamaica.

 

He noted that this is due to a large number of coaches being trained at the G.C. Foster College of Physical Education & Sport and returning to their communities.

 

“What we find now is that instead of these schools sending their athletes to ‘big track’ schools, they are staying at home and they are being trained to participate at Champs without having to go to the big schools,” he said.

 

As it relates to the health of the athletes, Mr. Forbes said the organising committee of ISSA has been working with the Ministry of Health to have the medical facilities equipped at the stadium.

 

‘As per the requirements at the National Stadium, we have at least two ambulances on standby – one for the patrons, one for the athletes – and, of course, we have medical posts at stadium east and one in the stadium,” he said.

 

Additionally, Mr. Forbes said that persons will not be allowed to smoke at the stadium, noting that the no-smoking ban will be enforced by the police.

 

“It is the duty of the police to ensure that people who are caught smoking should be dealt with,” he said.

 

Persons who smoke at the venue could pay fines ranging from $10,000 for a first offence, $25,000 for a second, and $50,000 for subsequent offences, following a smoking ban implemented through the Public Health (Tobacco Control) Regulations 2013, which took effect on Monday, July 15, 2013.

 

CAPTION: Students of high schools participate in a long-distance race at the Inter-Secondary School Sports Association (ISSA)/GraceKennedy Boys and Girl’s Championships. (FILE)