New Champs schedule remains
Davis: We have full buy-in from the coaches who are major, major stakeholders
There’s a good chance that the Inter-Secondary Schools Sports Association (ISSA) will continue with the new schedule introduced at the Boys and Girls’ Championships this year. Meet director Anthony Davis is about to recommend that it stays in...
There’s a good chance that the Inter-Secondary Schools Sports Association (ISSA) will continue with the new schedule introduced at the Boys and Girls’ Championships this year. Meet director Anthony Davis is about to recommend that it stays in place for a couple of years, to give ISSA time to evaluate the changes.
The old schedule had turned Champs Friday into a carnival with the 100 metres finals as its centrepiece but the need to finance other sports from Champs revenue ignited the change. In 2022, the 100m and 1500m finals were moved to Wednesday, with the 400m finals shifted to Thursday.
The change unravelled the old schedule and put Champs in line with international practice. “We have full buy-in from the coaches who are major, major stakeholders. We have full buy-in from the athletes because it eases pressure on them physically,” Davis said in a reference to the old schedule which fostered overlaps between events like the 100m and 200m. “This schedule is in keeping with what happens internationally, straight across the board,” he added.
At the international level, the 200m begins after the 100m finals are finished and other ‘natural doubles’ are often treated in similar fashion.
The change was designed to interest fans to attend in great numbers on every day of the five-day event.
“It’s an income-generating activity for ISSA and there is some fallout in year one, in terms of attendance, especially from the rural fans, who would have had a difficulty coming into Champs on Wednesday to watch the 100m finals and then return to rural Jamaica to come back again Saturday,” Davis said.
Mindful of this, he added, “We have to watch it because there are trends and sometimes what happens is that, when something is introduced initially, people may not necessarily gravitate towards it, but, over time, it becomes the norm.”
Nevertheless, there will be some changes. “You might not even notice them,”, the meet director said, “but the changes will be extending the intervals between some races to allow efficient movement of equipment and to allow for keeping the meet on schedule.”
Davis says tweaks to the new schedule may well be considered but the concept of spreading the excitement will remain. “I think the mix is good,” he continued more broadly, “and we have to continue, at least for another two years, to see what the fallout is going to be. But certainly from comments by the coaches, they have bought the idea. They have accepted it, and, to me, the negative comments are few at this point in time, in terms of running the 100m, because the real track fan is aware that, at every international meet, that is what happens.”
Planning for the 2023 edition of the high-school athletics spectacular will begin this month.