Words and Photos by Martei Korley—
The Inter Secondary School Associations’ Boys and Girls Champs, or just ‘Champs,’ the annual Jamaican high school athletics championship which takes place at the national stadium in Kingston, has been held every year since 1910. As the strongest high school athletes island-wide compete in the event, this is where you would discover the next Merlene Ottey or Usain Bolt. Lots of future Olympians here, that’s for sure. You may even bump into a former or current Olympian, too…
The level of athleticism and seriousness, and the sheer size of the crowds, will at times make you forget that you are in fact watching schoolers. The bleachers and grandstand are filled with spectators, and giant school banners are floated by hundreds of hands in homage to the athletes. Vuvulezas, various other noisemaking devices and the wave makes the stadium experience complete.
At this year’s Champs, held March 27-31, Calabar High School took home the boys trophy followed by Kingston College and Jamaica College respectively. In the girls section, Edwin Allen H.S. was victorious followed by Holmwood and Sr. Jago High Schools. If you are planning to go next year, get your season passes early—Champs is always sold out to capacity.