Excitement promised at media launch of 113th edition of ISSA/GraceKennedy Boys & Girls Championships

By March 07, 2024
GraceKennedy CEO Don Wehby (left) and ISSA President Keith Wellington at the launch of the 2024 ISSA GraceKennedy Boys & Girls Championships at the National Stadium in Kingston on Wednesday evening. GraceKennedy CEO Don Wehby (left) and ISSA President Keith Wellington at the launch of the 2024 ISSA GraceKennedy Boys & Girls Championships at the National Stadium in Kingston on Wednesday evening.

The anticipation among track & field fans in Jamaica and around the world is growing by the second with the world's top High School Athletics showcase, the ISSA GraceKennedy Boys & Girls Championships, on the horizon.

The meet, set to take place from March 19-23 at the National Stadium in Kingston, had its official media launch on Wednesday evening at the same venue.

This year will mark the 113th year of the showpiece event as well as the 25th anniversary of the merging of Boys and Girls Champs.

Kingston College are defending champions on the boys side while Hydel High ended Edwin Allen’s eight-year reign on the throne last year of the girls side.

101 teams are down to compete on the boys side while 97 are set to do battle for the girls title. Athletes will contest a total of 88 events over a grueling five days of competition.

While Tuesday’s day one will feature only preliminaries, Wednesday’s day two will see 17 finals contested highlighted by the 100m and 1500m. Thursday and Friday will each have 13 finals contested before the festivities culminate with 43 finals on Saturday’s final day.

Organizers have also added a special event to commemorate the 25th anniversary of the merge between the Boys and the Girls events.

There will be exhibition mixed relays, twinning traditional boys’ schools with their sister schools as well as adding Manchester High School in honor of Mr. Branford Gayle, late former principal who was instrumental in the merger.

This year’s edition will also see the introduction of international technical officials to complement the local technical official pool.

President of the Inter-Secondary School Sports Association (ISSA), Mr. Keith Wellington, expects this year’s event to be special.

“The 2024 version of the ISSA GraceKennedy Boys and Girls Championships promises to be another landmark staging of the greatest High School Athletics Championships in the world,” he said at Wednesday’s event.

“We expect patrons that patrons will be dazzled, not only by the performances of our athletes but will also experience pulsating entertainment off the track,” he added.

Wellington also commented on the addition of international officials.

“We believe that the inclusion of an international start referee and the addition of an international official to the jury of appeal will not only add significant credibility to these areas, but will enhance the already significant reputation of “Champs” as a meet of the highest international quality,” he said.

GraceKennedy, who have been sponsoring “Champs” since 2007, have committed $178 million to this year’s edition.

“Champs continues to be the largest sponsorship in dollars and heart by far, for the entire GraceKennedy Group,” said GraceKennedy Group CEO Don Wehby.

“We are honored and proud to be the title sponsor of such an iconic event, an event that holds such cultural prominence among Jamaicans at home and abroad. This is a significant investment and represents a powerful example of our commitment to invest in our schools, youth and our country. Our support for Champs and youth development in Jamaica is unwavering, and will continue for years to come,” he added.

Wehby also announced that, in honor of GraceKennedy’s 102nd anniversary, they will have a special award of $202,000 for any school whose student breaks a 200m record.

Bradley Jacks

Bradley Jacks is a budding journalist and an avid sports fan. His love of research and sports has led him to SportsMax.tv, a place where those passions work hand in hand to allow him to produce content.

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