It’s over. Five days. Twenty-eight new records. Countless emotional highs. The glory and excitement of 2017’s staging of the ISSA/GraceKennedy Boys & Girls’ Athletics Championships has left us in a haze of euphoria. Terri-Karelle Reid, Miss World Jamaica 2005, Gleaner brand manager and popular media personality, perfectly summed up the way many Jamaicans felt after the excitement in this post that she shared with us:
The curtains have closed on another amazing ISSA BOYS & GIRLS CHAMPS. I have a couple of takeaways:
1. It is about the rivalry but it teaches our youngsters so much more – hard work, dedication, discipline, pride in self and school, setting goals, exceeding expectations and, most important, being COMPASSIONATE to other competitors. “In a war there are many moments of compassion and tender action”.
2. Our local talent is the best the world has ever seen and will ever see. Most students do not have high tech facilities, unlimited resources, fancy nutritionists or heavy investments, yet THEIR RAW TALENT CANNOT BE DENIED
3. Our Champs event is THE BEST TRACK MEET in the world that showcases the best the current and next generation has to offer Jamaica.
4. RECORDS are something we take for granted because as a country, we have become accustomed to them. But WE MUST NEVER overlook the tremendous feat and hard work it takes to shatter these records. We MUST NOT forget that these are youngsters/teens running at speeds that would place them in international contention. Records are something we must continue to encourage and applaud feverishly.
5. Champs reminds us that we must PROTECT OUR NATURAL ASSETS. We must invest in them and create sustainable programmes and an environment that will encourage them to stay and rep #TeamJamaica. We must not lose them to foreigners with “the vision and resources”. 6. Jamaica must use this opportunity to capitalise on SPORTS TOURISM. She must diversify her portfolio if she is to continue to compete or even dominate the World.
7. Rivalry but solidarity – Jamaicans show up in the thousands and the diaspora pay for viewership online to support, chant, cheerlead and witness the future of Jamaica. Champs is unifying.
I THANK ALL THE ATHLETES who showed up and performed well. You might not have all been winners of medals but to have gotten that far and competed under such immense pressure and at that calibre, I would say that you are ALL WINNERS, doing things that half of us wish we could. I CANT WAIT TO SEE THE NEXT USAIN, FRASER-PRYCE, OMAR MCLEOD …