The Lions of Calabar High School, 7 times defending champions, have won Champs 28 times and have their eyes firmly set on capturing title number 29 this year. Here are five additional facts about ‘Rabalac.’
- Their Champs team was once coached by GC Foster, who himself excelled as an athlete.
- Calabar was the first school to win four championships in a row (1930-1933), bettering three-peats by rivals Jamaica College.
- It is the alma mater of Jamaica’s earliest Olympic heroes, Arthur Wint and Herb McKenley. Wint was Jamaica’s first Olympic gold medalist, winning the 400m at the 1948 Games in London. McKenley was the first man in recorded history to run the 400m in under 46 seconds in a flat race and under 45 seconds on a relay leg.
- The school could have very well won a fifth straight title, but the headmaster decided that Calabar had held the cup long enough, and that another school’s success would better serve the interest of the competition and encourage a sense of sportsmanship among the participants. Thus, in 1934, although Wint was young enough to run in Class Three for the third time (he had been the star for the two previous years), the headmaster instructed him to “stand back” and give another competitor the opportunity to win. Calabar dropped to fifth place in the competition.
- The Champs scoring system was changed in 1996, rewarding the top eight finishers in each event instead of the top six. Calabar was the first school to win under this new system, with 217 points to St Jago’s 165 in second place. They would have still won under the old system, but second place would have gone to Wolmer’s Boys, which had placed fourth.
Read more: 100 Years Of Calabar At Champs
Additional information from Champs 100: A Century of Jamaican High School Athletics 1910-2010 by Hubert Lawrence.