All systems are in place for the staging of this year’s National Primary Schools Athletics Championship [NAPSAC] and the organising committee has added the shot-put field event as the newest feature to its meet program.
Championship director Wendy Barrow-Smith revealed during this morning’s press conference held at All Saints Primary in St. Peter that the shot-put event is exclusively for the Under-13 Division.
She explained that the introduction of the event was part of NAPSAC’s efforts to develop primary school athletes for the transition to secondary school.
“…This is in terms of trying to develop these juniors for when they go onto secondary school to participate. Many of them go straight into the Under-15 division and therefore find themselves taking part in events that they haven’t done before in primary school and the shot-put is the most basic of the throws after the cricket ball. So, we looked at that and decided that it will be an ideal thing to start with,” Barrow- Smith.
Long-standing coach at the National Sports Council and former nine-time national shot put and discus champion, Barrow-Smith said the weight of the shot-put being used is two kilograms.
She also revealed that as a precursor for this newest implementation, the committee had hosted seminars for physical education teachers.
“We are looking forward to an interesting competition. The technique will probably not be as clean as we would normally see at the Stadium but the children that I have come into contact with from a few of the schools seem to be picking it up very quickly. Maybe because it is a new event, maybe because it will be a new record for whoever wins the event at the zone and the finals,” Barrow-Smith said.
NAPSAC has moved from the Usain Bolt Sports Complex back to the National Stadium. The Patsy Callender Zone will be first out the blocks on February 17th, followed by Obadele Thompson on February 18th. Andrea Blackett will take centre stage on February 19th, while the Anton Norris and James Wedderburn Zones will be held on February 20th and 21st respectively .
The quarterfinals are scheduled for March 3rd, semifinals March 9th, and final March 17th.
There are over 75 schools entered for this year’s competition with over 2100 athletes scheduled to participate.
Newcomers such as the Learning Centre will also participate at NAPSAC.
City of Bridgetown St. Giles Primary will be chasing their third consecutive girl’s title, while the lads from Bayley’s Primary will be looking to repeat as champions among the boys.
NAPSAC chairperson Mona Alleyne, however, expressed concerns about some logistics.
Among them was the availability of Transport Board buses and the fact that students were unable to participate in the opening parade because they arrived late.
“And this was one of the challenges from the past, getting to the event early to take part in the opening parade and that really was our concern. …Some sponsors had complained that the parade was going and then you have about six schools in the parade, when they are 15 or 16 overall in the meet [zone] for that particular day,” Alleyne explained.
President of the Barbados Union of Teachers, Sean Spencer said the union was pleased to continue its association with the NSC and its valued corporate partners in staging the NAPSAC.
“For the union, the championship represents an extension of our social responsibility and therefore the valued support of the NSC and corporate Barbados remains critical. NAPSAC provides a positive outlet for the energies of our youths, therefore we believe that NAPSAC and the NAPSAC brand are of the high value of social importance,” Spencer said.
There will also be a technical seminar for meet officials at the NSC on Thursday which will be conducted by Esther Maynard, a level one lecturer and IAAF certified official. The meeting for technical officials will take place on Friday, February 14th at the NSC office located at the Sir Garfield Sobers Gymnasium.