Photo: Inter-Secondary Schools Sports Association President Dr. Walton Small speaking at the launch of the ISSA/Grace Kennedy Boys’ and Girls’ Athletics Championships on Thursday at the Spanish Court Hotel in Kingston.
The 107th staging of the Inter-Secondary Schools Sports Association (ISSA)/Grace Kennedy Boys’ and Girls’ Athletics Championships was launched on Thursday at the Spanish Court Hotel in Kingston, amidst continuing debate about the participation of Kingston College athlete Aryamanya Rodgers.
The championships will have approximately 3000 participants over the five days between Tuesday, March 28th and Saturday, April 1st as Calabar High and Edwin Allen High seek to defend the Boys’ and Girls’ crowns respectively.
But while the focus should have been on Jamaica’s best track and field product, it continues to surround the participation of the Ugandan born Rodgers and the time of his arrival in the country and his registration at Kingston College.
The President of ISSA, Dr. Walton Small took the opportunity to explain the efforts made by the family of Rodgers to get him to Jamaica ahead of the beginning of the school term and the challenges faced in trying to do so.
Small said that after examining the issues, the executive committee then met to deal with the matter, and voted in favour of allowing the 16 year old to participate.
“As is our practice, we have rules and regulations that govern participation in competitions run by ISSA. As we do for every year for all competitions, if a school thinks that there are extenuating circumstances they can make an appeal. We felt that considering all that happened that he (Rodgers) should be allowed to participate.”
While dismissing the notion that ISSA has been inconsistent in their rulings, Small said that he always wants to do everything in his power to get students to participate
“When we looked at the situation with Mr. Rodgers and saw all that they went through I think it would be inhumane not to allow a student like that participate.”
The first day of Champs is free for all spectators and begins at 1pm with the final event of the day being the Boys Steeplechase Open set to run off at 9:15pm.