TOCO Secondary, the long-standing reigning school team victors at the TT Secondary Schools’ Track & Field (TTSSTF) Championships, will attempt to defend their title yet again at two-day event, which starts today and ends tomorrow at the Hasely Crawford Stadium, Port of Spain.
The championships will start with an opening ceremony from 10 am, during which Minister of Sport Shamfa Cudjoe is expected to address the nearly 1,000 student-athletes from schools across both islands.
An exhibition Boys and Girls Open hammer throw will kick-start action this morning and will be followed by a host of preliminary events as well as finals.
Medal presentations will take place throughout the day in between certain events.
There is a considerable increase in the number of athletes at this year’s championship, up from 835 athletes in 2018, given an expansion by one spot afforded to each zone in five events: 100m, 200m, 400m, long jump and javelin.
Athletes were selected on merit based on performances from zonal competitions preceding the championship.
The championship has been described as a breeding ground for top-level national athletes since the event’s inauguration in the early 1990s. They include the likes of Olympic sprinters Darryl Brown, Keston Bledman, Marc Burns, Michelle-Lee Ahye and Kelly-Ann Baptiste, quarter-milers Renny Quow and Machel Cedenio, hurdler Janeil Bellille and the world’s youngest Olympic gold medallist in men’s javelin – Keshorn Walcott.
The up-and-coming Tyriq Horsford and Akanni Hislop are also recent products of the annual event.
Toco Secondary amassed by far the most points last year – 413 – to cop the overall Champion School title, while topping both the male and female schools title. Speyside Secondary and Pentecostal Light & Life, both of Tobago, took second and third, respectively.
Jaden Kirton of Toco Secondary was named Victor with 28 points for his exploits in the Boys Under-15 division, while the Victrix award was given in a two-way tie between Point Fortin Secondary’s Natasha Fox and St James Secondary’s Shaniqua, both of whom amassed 30 points. Fox also picked up the Girls Under-15 individual age group award and Bascombe in the Girls Under-17 division.
There are four divisions of competition, Under-13 (ages 11-12), Under-15 (13-14), Under-17 (15-16) and Over 17 (17-20). The events are expected to close at around 5 pm on both days. Today’s programme will close after the finals in the 100m sprint, 400m and 4x100m relay finals in all boys and girls divisions.
The TTSSTF’s partners for the championship include Sunshine Snacks, SM Jaleel, Blue Waters and Guardian General.