Sun | May 28, 2023

Back the athletes, says Wellington

Published:Saturday | April 1, 2023 | 1:12 AM
ISSA President Keith Wellington.
ISSA President Keith Wellington.

ISSA president Keith Wellington has defended Wednesday’s 100m final slot at the ISSA/GraceKennedy Boys and Girls’ Athletics Championships, saying it is the reason for the record-breaking performances that the country witnessed. ISSA introduced the...

ISSA president Keith Wellington has defended Wednesday’s 100m final slot at the ISSA/GraceKennedy Boys and Girls’ Athletics Championships, saying it is the reason for the record-breaking performances that the country witnessed.

ISSA introduced the switch last year in a bid to not only mirror international standards but for the well-being of the student athletes. Wednesday’s final was a historic one as Hydel High’s Alana Reid and Kingston College’s Bouwahjgie Nkrumie became the first local schoolgirl and schoolboy to go sub-11 seconds and sub-10 seconds, respectively. Reid set a national junior record of 10.92, smashing the 20-year-old Champs record set by Veronica Campbell-Brown, and Nkrumie improved the national record to 9.99.

Some persons are still miffed about the change from its traditional Friday time slot without the massive crowds that accompany it. Wellington said that it is now up to the fans to show their support.

“We have to always consider that this is about the athletes and their performances. What we as spectators need to do is to support the athletes in that particular environment that allows them to perform at their best,” Wellington told The Gleaner.

Wellington said a big reason for the record-breaking night was because the athletes were able to focus on one event at a time, compared to previous years where they had to do heats of various events before their individual finals.

“I am willing to bet that you will not again see another performance like we did Wednesday where two high school students in a 100m finals, under 10 seconds for the boys, under 11 seconds for the girls,” Wellington said. “I think the athletes were able to achieve that this year because they were able to concentrate on the 100m before taking on a heat of a 200m or the heats of a 4x100m.”

With the schedule poised to continue, Wellington said that it is a part of the constant evolution of the championships.

“I think that transformation is about changes and improvement is about transformation. And therefore if Champs is going to improve, we are going to see changes from time to time,” Wellington said.

daniel.wheeler@gleanerjm.com