Champs has a long and rich history in Jamaica. From its inception in 1910 till now, it has been an invaluable stepping stone for many of our nation’s best athletes. According to Colin Channer, “The entire nation of Jamaica owes a debt of gratitude to the ISSA and its precursors for [a century of] contribution to this great nation. There are few institutions in the history of Jamaica that can claim to touch so many lives.” Here are 50 trivia facts about Jamaica’s Inter-secondary Schools’ Sporting Association (ISSA) Boys & Girls’ Championships.
- The first School Sports Committee was formed in 1910 when headmasters from six original Athletics Championships schools came together to administer what was dubbed the Jamaica School Championship Sports.
- Former premier of Jamaica, Norman Washington Manley, competed in 17 events in Champs between 1910 and 1912. He won 12 and finished second five times, never placing third or lower. His record time of 10 seconds in the 100-yard dash remained unbroken for 41 years.
- Norman Washington Manley scored more than the rest of his team combined at Champs 1911 to lead Jamaica College to their first Champs win.
- In 1917, star student athlete Rudolph Burke, had to leave Jamaica College to manage his family’s business in Llandewey, St Thomas, after the death of his father. His absence from his school’s team was felt, and Wolmer’s Boys won the Championship.
- The sprint relay was introduced as an event at Champs in 1938.
- In 1949, the discus throw became an official event at Champs, after being introduced as an exhibition event in 1948.
- The first Girls’ Champs was staged in 1957 and won by St Hilda’s High.
- Kingston College won the first of what would be a 14-year hold on the Boys’ Champs title in the same year that Jamaica gained Independence, 1962.
- In 1964, Kingston College participated in the Penn Relays, paving the way for stellar performances from Jamaican teams in that event over the years. Jamaican athletic prowess at the University of Pennsylvania’s premier relay meet is now a staple.
- Vere Technical High School won its first Championship title in 1967.
15 more fun facts on the next page.