5 Facts: Champs

Do you feel the Champs fever? Which school are you supporting? Which flag are you waving?

Jamaicans know at this time of the year, the Inter-Secondary Schools Sports Association (ISSA)/GraceKennedy Boys and Girls’ Championships, also known as Champs is in full swing. Currently running from March 12-16, 2013 at the National Stadium, the event is already making headlines. Champs features track and field events and athletes from secondary schools all over Jamaica.

Legendary athletes such as the Honorable Usain Bolt have made their start at Champs. With such talent and pure athletic grace being showcased, Five Facts Friday wants to share some facts about Champs.

  1. 2013 marks the 103rd staging of the event, which has been in existence since 1910 and first started out as a boy’s event. The oldest of its kind in the world, the Boys’ and Girls’ Championships were merged in 1999 and now boasts 150 schools participating.
  2. The inaugural staging of Champs was won by the maroon and gold team from Wolmer’s Boys in 1910. The first Girls’ Championships in 1957 was won by St Hilda’s High School from Brown’s Town, St Ann.
  3. Kingston College has won the competition a record 31 times, including a 14-year streak from 1962 to 1975. Munro College was the first rural school to place number 1 back in 1920. Current Boys’ champion Calabar High School has won 23 titles.
  4. Competition from rivals schools has lead to violence in the past. However, there is a ‘Peace for Champs’ initiative, which is spearheaded by the St Andrew Central Police Division. The initiative is geared towards fostering harmony among schools and, in particular, traditional rivals prior to, during and immediately following the championships.
  5. ISSA will use this year’s staging of the event to recognise five stalwarts. They are Olympian Maurice Wignal, Nicole Mitchell, track official Ian Forbes and coaches Maurice Wilson and Donald Hawthorne.