By Anmar Goodridge-Boyce
The eight-zone format is here to stay.
Chairman of the Chefette/Frosteez National Primary Schools Athletics Championship (NAPSAC), Janelle Denny says there will be no going back to the previous five-zone structure following a successful staging of this year’s edition last week at the Usain Bolt Sports Complex.
Wesley Hall Warriors captured the boys’ title for the first time with 117 points while West Terrace Tigers roared back to defend their girls’ crown amassing 103 points.
“I love the eight-zone format and we are already planning for 2024 as it relates to what we need to do to improve. The eight-zone format has proven itself. I can take the point that people were wondering if it was the best thing, even with our advancements people questioned it because 75 schools made it from zone two to the semi-finals, the most we ever had and it allowed for an even spread,” Denny told Barbados TODAY.
“It allowed for all the schools to shine in a different way. It also revealed that from day one you have to perform and you have to execute because in order to get to the next stage, and be in the running for the overall championship, you have to produce. I think we were fortunate to see such great talent coming out from such a long break from the pandemic.
“We saw that people had to come and perform because the competition was stiff and I expect 2024 and beyond to be more of the same,” she added.
There were three events in the Under-7 division; the 50m, standing broad jump and tennis ball throw. The Under-9 category featured the 80m, 100m, 150m, 4x100m relay, long jump and cricket ball throw.
The Under-11 Division had the customary 100m, 200m, 300m, 4x100m relay, cricket ball throw and long jump. Meanwhile, the Under-13s contested the 100m, 200m, 400m, 4x100m relay, long jump, cricket ball throw and shot put.
There was also an open division for the Under-11 and 13 divisions, which included the 600m for girls and 800m for boys.
Denny said she was pleased with the high standard of performances on the track and field during the course of NAPSAC.
“The future looks bright. We wanted to use 2023 as a way to gauge coming out of the pandemic and to chart a way forward and I think we have been able to see with the eight-zone format that is more competitive than what we had previously.
“We saw a lot of tremendous performances and I think that people need to take stock of the fact that we have a lot of talent in Barbados and provide that supporting environment which will take our athletes to the next level. This is the grassroots stage and we have got to nurture it so that they will be able to get to that Olympic level,” Denny said.
Denny also expressed gratitude towards the fans.
“The turn out of the semi-finals was lovely and they allowed us to prepare to have a little bit more space for them at the finals. It was all about making sure that people were comfortable within the surroundings we had. I’m glad we had the support of everyone, especially the sponsors.”