“Go for gold, go for glory, blaze the trail and let the fire burn.”
This was the advice of Tobago House of Assembly (THA) Chief Secretary and Secretary of Education, Innovation and Energy Kelvin Charles as he declared the 2020 edition of the TT National Secondary Schools’ Track & Field Championships open.
The two-day event themed “Fire on the tracks” which ran from March 11 to 12 kicked off at the Dwight Yorke Stadium in Bacolet, Scarborough with intense competition by students from over 80 schools across the country.
An annual event, the Championships are hosted by the Trinidad and Tobago Secondary Schools’ Track & Field Association with the aim of developing physical health and fitness in the nation’s youth through track and field activities.
On day one, students participated in events such as the hammer throw, long jump, high jump, discus, hurdles, shot, javelin, 100m, 400m and 1500m.
Charles described the event as “historic”, as this is the first time the games is being held on the island in the last 40 years.
“Indeed, this is a glorious day, it is a momentous one and also a historic occasion.
“It is indeed a historic occasion and 2020 seems to be a more memorable year for us… it represents a series of first in the hosting of events.
“We don’t want this to be the first and the last occasion, we have been discussing the possibility of the games coming to Tobago at least once every three years… I’m not a greedy guy so I’ll settle for at least once every three years.
“And then we would evolve to once every two years,” he said.
In giving some encouragement to the athletes, Charles noted that the Championships is key to the generation of quality athletes, pointing to athletes such as Keshorn Walcott, Machel Cedenio, Michelle-Lee Ahye, as well as Renny Quow, and Kelly-Ann Baptiste and Tyriq Horsford.
“Persons have gone before you, but these persons are testament to what can be achieved through sport and through competing here.
“I want you to note that whatever starts here for you who are competing does not have to end here, it can end anywhere. So, you need to use that as a means of competing,” he said further telling the athletes that the activity provides an opportunity for them to build character and discipline, but more importantly “it also allows you to treat with victory and defeat.”
“You would get the opportunity to recognise that in competing somebody must win, and somebody must lose. Therefore, I want to urge all of you to give it your best shot.”
President of the Secondary Schools Track and Field Association, Joseph Brewster noted that indeed it is time for celebration as Tobago is host to the event for the very first time.
“What is happening today and tomorrow, it will not be the last time that we would be here,” he said.
Minister of Sport and Youth Affairs and Member of Parliament for Tobago West, Shamfa Cudjoe shared Brewster’s sentiments noting that it is indeed time for celebration.
“It was only two years ago when I assumed duties as Minister of Sport, he (Joseph Brewster) would have approached me about bringing these games to Tobago. At that time, I was somewhat hesitant as to whether or not we would be ready and prepared to host in Tobago and here we are two years later, here at the Dwight Yorke Stadium.
“The works have been done, not completed as yet but we are working with UDECOTT to complete this facility by the end of April 2020, that is the end of next month but I am pleased that we have been able to bring it up to a standard to host the first National Secondary Schools’ Track & Field Championships in Tobago. That is a major accomplishment,” she said.
The Minister in her show of support, interacted with a number of the young athletes from the participating schools offering them some words of inspiration.