Jamaica Sports News, JIS: Minister of Culture, Gender, Entertainment and Sport, Hon. Olivia Grange, has announced prize money of $325,000 for the top-three schools in the Institute of Sports (INSPORTS) 2018 All-Age and Junior High Athletics Championships.
The winning school will receive $150,000, with $100,000 for second place and $75,000 for third place.
This is in addition to the $50,000 for each of the 10 participating schools to assist with their expenses for the meet, which will take place on April 25 and 26.
Minister Grange made the announcement at the press launch of the 40th and final staging of the championships at the National Stadium on April 18.
She said the prize money is being awarded for the first time as a goodbye to the staging of the event.
“Since this is the last staging, we are giving it something extra. As you know, in the previous years, each of the participating schools was given $50,000, with nothing extra for those emerging as the top three. Now there is much more to compete for and this is the way that we are bidding goodbye to the All-Age and Junior High Championships,” she said.
She noted, further, that the meet will be moved from Stadium East to the National Stadium.
The 40th staging of this competition is the last, owing to the phasing out of all-age and junior high schools in Jamaica. The process is to be completed next year.
As such, the annual All-Age and Junior High Championships will be subsumed into the existing Primary School Athletics Championships.
Minister Grange said the change will result in a single, strong primary-school event.
“What we are going to be focused on now is the biggest and best primary-school championships that Jamaica will host,” she said.
“It is not the end of something. Rather, it is the phasing out of an existing programme to make another existing programme bigger and better,” she added.
The Minister pointed out that there are 762 primary schools across Jamaica, and challenged INSPORTS “to go find those schools and make your primary-school competition be the kind of competition where we can fill up the stadium with boys and girls champs”.
“That is where we are going,” she said.
Education, Youth and Information Minister, Senator the Hon. Ruel Reid, for his part, noted that the phasing out of the all-age and junior high schools is a positive for Jamaica.
He said that every student who sat the Grade Six Achievement Test (GSAT) this year “will have a full place in a high school so… everyone will have a better opportunity for improvement”.
Board Director for INSPORTS, Vishu Tolan, said the Institute will continue to create platforms, so that youth are given the best opportunity to showcase their talents.
“We… are charting a new course, which will see greater participation at the grassroots level among a raft of programmes we have in the pipeline, such as primary-school netball, football, and track and field. Other disciplines to come on stream soon are hockey, basketball, cricket and chess,” he noted.
More than 700 athletes from 10 junior high schools across the island will be participating in 52 events over two days of the athletic competition.
These are Windward Road Primary and Junior High; John Mills Infant, Primary and Junior High; Cockburn Gardens Primary and Junior High; Calabar Primary and Junior High; New Day Primary and Junior High; Maverly Primary and Junior High; Constant Spring Primary and Junior High; Shortwood Practising Primary and Junior High; Mico Practising Primary and Junior High; and Swallowfield Primary and Junior High.