PORT OF SPAIN, Trinidad: This year’s edition of National Secondary Schools Track and Field Championships promises to be an exciting one. With close to 600 athletes from schools across eight educational districts in Trinidad and Tobago competing in just over 100 track and field events, 2nd Vice President of the Trinidad and Tobago Secondary Schools Track and Field Association (TTSSTFA) Joseph Brewster says two days of exciting competition await both spectators and athletes at the Hasely Crawford Stadium, Mucurapo on April 20 & 21.

Many of this country’s representatives at the Carifta Games in March will be present. Leading the headlines are Carifta gold medallists Tyriq Horsford and Akanni Hislop. Brewster said not only will talent be on display but new stars will emerge. The Championships have been the breeding grounds for the majority of our country's world class athletes over the past decades. From Anna­Lee Walcott, Alicia Tyson, Fana Ashby, Kerry Edwards and Scott Noreiga in the 1990's to Darryl Brown, Marc Burn, Cleavon Dillon, Alicia Cave, Kern Harrypersad, Renny Quow and Kelly­Ann Baptiste in the early 2000's to Garvyn Nero, Janeil Bellille, World Champion Jehue Gordon, Keston Bledman and Michelle­Lee Ahye in the late 2000's. Reigning Olympic gold medallist Keshorn Walcott, Elton Walcott Machel Cedenio were the stars of the early 2010's. All of whom won numerous titles and medals at the Carifta, CAC, Commonwealth, World Juniors, World Indoors, World Seniors and the Olympic Games..

 Brewster, a teacher at The Toco Secondary, is urging the country to give sports more priority. “We have a culture in T&T about academia is number one which is probably what is holding us back. We really don’t see how far sports go even though we have living examples like Keshorn Walcott. Even across the region we have Usain Bolt. Many people don’t give the respect to sportsmen and women out there.” He added that for many students participation in sports can be a way of dealing with stress and frustration. “The recession in on and things are going to get tougher. That is going to have a psychological and social effects and some young people are going to get frustrated but Sports is the number one thing for them. Young athletes after training will get tired, hopefully. Between the training and the cell phone they are well occupied.

Brewster is calling on parents and sponsors to come on board with the staging of the Secondary Schools Track and Field events. “These Championships are the culmination of the season which started last October with the Schools Cross Country championships. We had a Relay Festival in February. Without sponsors you don’t hear about that. We need people to come on board, not to take a risk but to make an investment in the future of Trinidad and Tobago.” He is encouraging all to come out support the nation’s future Olympic stars. “It is worth the investment to come to the (Hasely Crawford Stadium, Walk with your pelau. Walk with your colours and drums. Support your school. Walk with the family.”

The Ministry of Education and SM Jaleel Company are main sponsors of the year’s National Secondary Schools Track and Field Championships.

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