Head coach of the Geoffrey Burke Zone and physical education teacher at the Springer Memorial Secondary School Jesse King has expressed confidence in his group to do well when the Powerade-Dasani Barbados Secondary Schools Athletics Championship commences today at the Usain Bolt Sports Complex.
King said that his zone which will be in yellow attire should not be underestimated given the depth of former champion schools in the zone, especially perennial queens Springer Memorial along with oftentimes winners Harrison College. Each zone is expected to have a minimum of 100 hundred athletes participating.
“We are excited and went through our selection process in terms of the team we selected. It is always a big problem when you have to bring down the team size to make sure you have the best pieces you want and put the best team out for the public and I think we have done that. We are doing a maximum of a hundred (athletes) and we are pleased with what we have been able to put together.
“I think some will get a pleasant surprise of how we have been able to put things in place. There is another zone that everyone keeps talking about in terms of selection but if you look at the make-up of our zone, the school has a strong history in track and field.
“We have Harrison College in the boys and Springer Memorial in the girls, then you have schools like Lester Vaughan and St. Leonard’s Boys. St. George Secondary has been improving, and Princess Margaret. We also have two private schools and I am happy to say all the schools will play a part during competition,” King told Barbados TODAY.
King explained the amount of effort that went into his team preparation. “We spent some time with our juniors we thought that was important. The pandemic has hampered sport generally in Barbados and when you look at it our first and second formers would have lost out a lot on physical education. I am not even talking about sports now, just physical education. The basics and fundamentals of coordination and it is something we can look into as a nation. How we can help out our junior schools and get them up to par.
“The hard thing about it too, the National Primary Schools Athletics Championship side, would have also lost out. So the class threes, fours, first and second formers would have all lost out and it is a big gap. There has to be a smooth transition from Primary to Secondary school and how we as a society can play a role in closing the gap,” he said.
The general secretary of Talons Track and Field Club and a teacher at Springer Memorial Schools for the past ten years, King said he was happy with the team around him.
Top national female hurdler Kierre Beckles is assistant coach to King along with Rochelle Browne in the field. There is also Alwyn Babb at Lester Vaughan Secondary School, Julie Phillips Head of the Physical Education Department at Springer Memorial and Ryan Leacock at Harrison College.
King said he saw the championship as much bigger than just winning and added this was an opportunity for the athletes to showcase their abilities and for the world to recognise the talent in Barbados
“For me, this is not about winning a championship but to put a program in place for everyone to see the quality we have in Barbados and to bring track and field back.
Those who are privileged to get a ticket come out. We want to see the stands full again, which we have been missing for a long time.
“Come and support these young people of Barbados, they have been missing sports for a long time. Yes, we want to win, all three zones want to win bragging rights but at the end of the day, we just want to see the young people perform in a positive light and showcase the best of Barbados,” King added.