The annual press conference pertaining to the grand interprimary schools championships, otherwise known as the MINI OLYMPICS, was held at the conference room of the Disaster Preparedness office, on Tuesday 28th March.
Chairing the proceedings, was Mr. Jamir Claxton, Director of Sports on Nevis, who immediately asked for a moment of silence in honour of the late Carl Williams, former teacher and Head teacher and Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Tourism.
In his opening remarks, he noted that plans were going well for the prestigious event, which will be jointly hosted by the Departments of Youth and Sports, in collaboration with the Department of Education.
He introduced the members of the head table as follows:
Mr. Lester Blackett, Technical Coordinator and Meet Director; Kelvin Bramble – Sports Department representative, assisting with marketing; Carl Lewis –Gulf Insurance representative and Mrs. Palsy Wilkin, Principal Education Officer.
A power point presentation featuring last year’s meet was then played.
It was pointed out that this year’s event will take place over a two day period -4th and 5th of April.
Kelvin Bramble indicated that the march past will be held on the 4th of March which see the athletes marching through Main Street, Charlestown from 3 pm and climaxing at the ET Willet Park, with the official opening ceremony.
Claxton noted that after the usual speeches by the officials, special awards will be presented to key stakeholders who have contributed to the success of the meet, which is now in its 35th year but of note, the 25th year, that it has been sponsored by Gulf Insurance. There will also be some cultural presentations and what he termed ‘a surprise.’
As regards the action packed day of the 5th of April, Lester Blackett indicated that 8 schools will participate: St. Thomas’ primary; VOJN; St. James’ primary; Jocelyn Liburd primary; Elizabeth Pemberton primary; Ivor Walters primary; Maude Cross Preparatory and Charlestown primary.
As per usual, there will be two zones, with the A zone featuring the more populated schools and the B zone featuring the schools with a roll of 125 students or less. He opined that one day, one of the B division schools will win the overall competition.
The events for the day will see the athletes competing in the 60 meters; 100; 200; 400; 800; 1200; 4X100 and 4X400 meters.
He stated that the organizers were hoping to have field events this year but promised that they will be very much in place for next year.
The age categories for the athletes are based on the age as at the end of the year and will have categories of under 13’s; under 12’s, right down to the kindergarteners.
The event will commence promptly at 12.00 noon but the officials are requested to be present by 11 am.
Vendors would have to register with the Department of Education and must be set up by a stipulated cut off time on the Tuesday afternoon.
All of the athletes will receive participation medals, while the top three placers in each event will receive the appropriate gold, silver or bronze medals.
Other awards will include those for the Victor and Victrix Ludorum; champions in each zone and overall champions awards.
The awards presentation will be done in midfield when there are breaks in the event.
There will also be live commentary from the field and a big screen will be provided in the center of the field, along with the usual enhanced technology which will include live television and live streaming of the event.
Carl Lewis stated that Gulf insurance and A L Evelyn’s Ltd have supported the meet from 1992 to present and remain committed to continue supporting it. He stopped short of mentioning the figure for the sponsorship amount but referred to it as ‘sizeable.’
Principal Education officer, Mrs. Palsy Wilkin, saluted all of the major stakeholders who have contributed to the success of the meet throughout the years and emphasized that it is a child friendly event, and that all of the children are indeed WINNERS.
She asked all concerned to make this event extra special at the ET Willet Park, as next year, the intention is to have it hosted at the brand new track, which is being constructed at Long Point.
Members of the media then fielded questions which evoked responses which revealed that the patron for this year’s event will be former Olympian, Meritzer Williams.
Concerns were also raised about the retention of athletes after leaving primary school and the matter of additional security, in light of recent violent events.
Based on the surmisings, it would appear that the Gulf Insurance interprimary championships for 2017, will maintain its usual high standards.