By Noel ‘Bravo’ Francis, Special to

The annual Boys & Girls Championships generates gripping excitement among track & field fans with many athletes performing at a very high standard. These athletes push their bodies to the limit especially those competing in more than one event.

Despite ‘Champs’ being extended to five days it still seem inadequate for the multi-talented athletes who based on this year’s schedule will not have enough recovery time between events. It is one of the crucial details we sometimes overlook when we get excited and talk about which records will be broken. Let us look at a few examples:

1.   A top class athlete like Calabar’s Michael O’Hara if his coach decides that he competes in the 110M High Hurdles, 100m and 200m, he (O’Hara) will be competing on all five days of the championships and we should also factor his participation in the 4x100m and 4x400m relays.

2.   Zharnel Hughes is expected to accumulate a maximum 18 individual points (100m, 200m) for Kingston College. The schedule will see Zharnel competing on Wednesday, twice on Thursday, twice on Friday and the 200m final on Saturday.

3.   The multi-talented Jaheel Hyde of Wolmer’s Boys who will compete in the 110m hurdles and the 400m Hurdles open, will run on four days (Tuesday, Wednesday, twice on Friday and Saturday) and if necessary the relay events for his school.

4.   Javon Francis who many persons expect will break Usain Bolt’s record will have a herculean task if he competes in both the 200m and 400m. He will need to be in peak condition as he will be required to race on all five days including the finals of the 200m and 400m on Saturday. He will also compete in both the 4x100m and 4x400m relay for Calabar.

The athletes make a lot of sacrifices, however, we must remember they are not machines therefore we must not push them too hard. Let us temper our expectations (this writer included) of individual record-breaking performances a little and enjoy the championships.

The organizing body ISSA have tried their best over the years to accommodate the athletes, next year we could see ‘Champs’ being spread over six days starting on the Monday. This proposal will create a completely new set of negotiations, accommodation and cost factors, however, the welfare of the athletes must always be considered. Do you think the extra day will give the athletes more time to rest between events?


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