By Morissa Lindsay
It is expected that the Usain Bolt Sports Complex will be rocking as the 2023 Dasani/Powerade-sponsored Barbados Secondary Schools Athletic Championships (BSSAC) returns to its original format starting with the zonal meets and finals in March.
During a press launch held this afternoon in the Media Resource room at Harrison College, Crumpton Street, it was announced that BSSAC and title sponsors Dasani/Powerade have entered into a new agreement. There will be a total of three zones instead of two and each school has a cap of 80 registered athletes to compete as well as a newly implemented throws championship event.
Harrison College Principal and BSSAC Co-Chair, Juanita Wade said during her remarks that the organising committee was grateful for the continued support of their title sponsors Dasani/Powerade and many of their other key stakeholders who help to make the premier secondary school track and field championships a success.
“The staging of the BSSAC competition comes at a major cost and certainly it is not possible without significant sponsorship. The relationship with our title sponsors Dasani/Powerade through the Barbados Bottling company has spanned decades. We cannot truly express our gratitude for the support we have received from the title sponsors and from Mr Clifford Gooding- Edghill in particular,” Wade told the media.
BSSAC will commence with the throws championship competition from Monday, March 13th to Wednesday, March 15th, followed by the three respective zones named after Olympian Shane Brathwaite OLY, legendary coach Frank Blackman and long-standing administrator Esther Maynard.
The Frank Blackman Zone is scheduled for Thursday, March 16th to Friday, March 17th, the Esther Maynard Zone on Tuesday, March 21st to Wednesday, March 22nd while the Shane Brathwaite Zone will be on Thursday, March 23rd to Friday, March 24th. While the finals will be held from Wednesday, March 29th to Friday, March 31st, all at the Usain Bolt Sports Complex.
Given the occurrences of violent episodes within the school environment, Wade noted that this cannot sit well with any of us and stated that this year BSSAC will seek to bring greater focus to the peace initiative that is being led by the Ministry of Education, Technological and Vocational Training.
Wade added, “We want to highlight that sports, whether track and field or any other area, can be a vehicle for peace and for change.”
Admission to the zones called the Peace Zonal competitions will be BDS$5 for adults while school children are free of cost. Meanwhile, adult tickets for the final will cost BDS$25 and students will pay BDS$10. The box offices are Duty-Free Caribbean and Esso Black Rock and at individual schools for students as ticket sales start mid-February.
Last year there was no competition for the shot put, javelin or discus events and according to Wade, they have remedied that this time around by introducing the throws competition that will take place from Monday, March 13th to Wednesday, March 15th at the National Stadium. The points from that event will roll over into the zonal competitions and finals.
Wade in her capacity as BSSAC Co-Chair explained the rationale behind having three zones instead of two and the reason for capping off at 80 athletes per school saying, “We continue to also be limited regarding the number of athletes that can be accommodated in each arena. This has led us to introduce an additional zone, bringing the number to three. Three zones equate to fewer teams competing at once, whereby meaning greater control over the numbers at the zonal stage.”
BSSAC Co-Chair and Assistant Meet Director, Andrew Brathwaite said that with the full return of the secondary schools’ championship, all of the traditional events will be on the schedule except for the pentathlon. The age groups as customary are Under-13, 15, 17 and 20 with the usual two athletes representing each school in an event.
Brathwaite also noted that there are a few private schools including Young Explorers Barbados (newcomers) competing this year. In addition, he explained that BSSAC is all about inclusivity and therefore has given students of Ann Hill – a special needs school – the opportunity to participate.
Marketing Manager of Powerade and Dasani, Clifford Gooding- Edghill said BSSAC continues to be a positive avenue for young aspiring athletes to showcase their skills in a positive way.
“These types of championships give these young athletes the opportunity to go on to develop and hone their skills at this particular level. We at Powerade and Dasani are very committed to this event, we have actually pledged another multi-year agreement and we are happy about that, and we look forward to working with the organising committee as we stage another successful event in 2023,” Gooding- Edghill said.
listed in the BSSAC Zones:
Frank Blackman Zone
Coleridge and Parry
Daryll Jordan Secondary
St. Winifred’s School
The Ellerslie School
The St. Michael School
The Ursuline Convent
Esther Maynard Zone
Christ Church Foundation
Grantley Adams Memorial
St. George Secondary
Ann Hill School
Shane Brathwaite Zone
St. Leonard’s Boys’
Young Explorers Barbados