By Gregory Bryce
Jamaica College (JC) and Edwin Allen High were the respective Boys’ and Girls’ champions in the recently concluded 2021 ISSA Boys’ and Girls’ Championship held at the National Stadium. Edwin Allen was able to successfully defend their title as the champion Girls’ school and made it seven titles in a row ever since dethroning rival Holmwood Technical back in 2013. On the Boys’ side, JC ended their ten-year-drought after snatching the title away from rivals Kingston College (KC) to walk away with the famed Mortimer Geddes trophy.
At the end of the five-day athletic fest, JC finished first with 328.5 points, KC second with 313 points and Calabar a distant third place with 241.5 points.
Edwin Allen were comfortable winners on the Girls’ side when they stormed away from the pack, finishing on 340 points ahead of the distant second-placed St. Jago with 309.5 points. Hydel High barely missed out on second when they placed third with 301.5 points to round off the top three.
It was a hard-fought win for the boys from Old Hope Road as they started the final day of competition behind KC after 24 events. Having to make up a 9 point deficit entering Day 5, JC found the right gear with a string of good performances in the Boys’ Class One and Class Two 400m finals where they picked up 25 points compared to KC’s 5 point haul. This good form of performances extended to the 800m finals in all three classes where JC walked away with 38 points whereas KC could only muster 18 points.
This, added to the fact that JC finished above KC in all of the Boys’ 4x100m relays, the championship was sealed in the favor of the ‘Dark Blues’.
Edwin Allen started the Championship slower than their rivals, but once the girls from Frankfield, Clarendon found their footing, they stormed away from all oppositions. They had to settle for third place after Day 1 with 71 points, five points behind Hydel while St. Jago led with 81 points. Day 2 saw the defending champions take the lead when they closed out the second day in first place with 108 points – a 12-point lead over St. Jago’s tally of 96 points. Entering the last day of events, Edwin Allen had by then opened up a 26-point gap between themselves and second place St. Jago High.
Despite this, one of the main highlights came from the actions of Petersfield sprinter Antonio Watson. Watson, a brilliant sprinter, came under fire from certain crowds online due to his celebration after winning the Boys’ Class One 200m. While passing his opponent, Bryan Levell, Watson gestured his hand in the shape of a gun and seemingly ‘fired’ a shot at the athlete.
After the event, Watson apologized for his actions, claiming that he would take full responsibility for his actions and that he did not want that incident to take away from the success of the Championships.
“I have taken full responsibility for such actions as it is in no way a reflection of the ethos of my school, the principles of my coach or the position of ISSA or any of the sponsors,” Watson posted on social media. “Upon reflection, I recognize that my gestures could have been misleading and I have no desire to negatively influence others. In fact, going forward, I aspire to demonstrate positive behaviours and attitudes that will inspire countless young Jamaicans to strive for excellence and make our country a true beacon of what is good in this world.”
Gregory Bryce is a freelance journalist.
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