Chairperson of the Organising Committee for NAPSAC, Michael Jules (centre), plans the upcoming event with members of his committee.

This year’s National Primary Schools Athletics Championship (NAPSAC) finals, to be held on Tuesday, March 24, promise to be bigger and better, with several new initiatives being introduced.

Word of this has come from Manager of the National Stadium and Chairperson of the Organising Committee, Michael Jules, who said the committee was aiming to provide each athlete who won at the finals, including relay team members, with a watch which would carry the logo of a sponsor and the championship.

“We will be allocating segments in the meet for the presentation of awards, since we believe the athletes should not return home on the day of competition without the fruits of their labour, hence, we will ensure that those who place in the top three receive  awards,” Mr. Jules stated.

He advised patrons to purchase tickets early from the soon to be advertised Box Offices as an ‘entrance by ticket only’ system would be in effect.

The zonal meets are as follows: Zone One on March 2; Zone Two on March 3; Zone Three on March 4; Zone Four on March 5; and Zone Five on March 6. The semi-finals will be held on March 18 and all events will take place at the National Stadium.

According to Mr. Jules, the zonal meets were very important to the schools, especially those with small rolls. “They have a great opportunity to showcase their athletes… The majority of them may not advance to the semi-finals, but those who do will have a great opportunity to place their school on the map,” he opined.

He has urged the school community, parents, family members and friends to support the young athletes since they “are the future of Barbados’ track and field. This is the very nursery of track and field and it is here that they need great care and attention,” he stressed.

To those who believe that sports and academics do not mix, the Chairman said athletes had continued to prove that theory incorrect. “Athletes on sports scholarships in the United States, Britain and other places must maintain a B average grade, still attend training sessions and perform to a high level in their sporting discipline. It is, therefore, of utmost importance that we encourage our athletes to create that balance in sports and academics,” he stated.

NAPSAC was started in March, 2002, as a replacement for the Barbados Union of Teachers’ Frutee Primary School Championship and the National Sports Council’s MILO series. Both organisations agreed to merge their events and host one championship, since it was thought that the children were spending much time during Term Two attending both events.

The main objectives of the championship are to provide all primary schools with an opportunity to participate in a professionally-run track and field meet, expose the students to competition among their peers, and identify those with talent so it can be further developed to represent this island at regional and international meetings. It also acts as a feeder system for local track clubs and a scouting ground for some secondary schools’ track and field programmes.

Charles F. Broome won the girls’ title last year, while Erdiston Primary placed second and Wilkie Cumberbatch was third. Wilkie Cumberbatch took first place in the boys’ championship. Charles F. Broome was second and West Terrace placed third.

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