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07/21/2012

Jamaica's Future Olympians

Bernard Weil, Chief Photographer/Multimedia - @bernardweil

 

Since 1910, athletes from high schools throughout Jamaica make the annual pilgrimage to the Kingston National Stadium to compete in the Inter-Secondary Schools Boys and Girls Championships, also known as CHAMPS. It's a four day extravaganza that's been a springboard for some of the top athletes in the world. 

Having photographed many high school track and field meets in my career, this was unlike any I've covered. The level of organization and calibre of athletes approached that of the Olympics, four of which I have photographed for the Star. Star reporter Royson James and I went to Jamaica to find out why so many top atheletes are coming from this country of less than 3 million people.

 

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Framed by mansions on the hilltop, Jamie Lee Gordon, of Manchester High School, flies past a judge in the girls 13-19year-old long jump.

 

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Rolando Reid, of Munro College, competes in the boys 14-19 year-old javelin throw. 

 

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Delano Rochester, of Clarendon College and Miguel Morrison, Kingston College come around the final turn in the boys 14-16 800 metre class 2 event.

 

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Jordaine Waite, of St. Jago High, concentrates before the boys 14-19 year-old 1600 metre sprint medley he is competing in. 

 

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Fans go wild in the stands as students from more than 100 high schools in Jamaica compete in the annual ISSA Boys and Girls Athletic Championships 2012 competition in Jamaica. 

 

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Fans go wild in the stands as students from more than 100 high schools in Jamaica compete in the annual ISSA Boys and Girls Athletic Championships 2012 competition, better known as CHAMPS. 

 

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A vendor sells nuts in the stands.

 

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Like Roman gladiators waiting to do battle in the ring, boys in the 14-19 year old 1600 metre sprint medley event wait to get on the track. Students from more than 100 high schools in Jamaica competed in the annual ISSA Boys and Girls Athletic Championships 2012 competition, better known as CHAMPS. 

 

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Jason Lewis, of Wolmers' Boys SC, hit the bar on this attempt in the boys 16-19 year-old class 1 high jump event.

 

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Brittani Thompson, of Hydel High School, clears the last hurdle in the girls 13-15 year-old 80 meters hurdles.

 

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Ashina Miller, of Calabar High School, explode during the boys 16-19 year-old  class 1 shot put event. 

 

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Team members from Calabar High School 4x100 metre relay team rejoice after winning their event. 

 

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Team members from Calabar High School 4x100 metre relay team rejoice after winning their event. 

 

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Colorfully dressed ladies prepare to walk out with gold, silver and bronze medals to the podium for presentations. 

 

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Police keep a close watch in the National Stadium.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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