Minister of Youth, Sports and Culture, Hon. Olivia Grange, has said that a survey of schools is being conducted to determine how many have physical education programmes in place.
She said that the survey, which is now underway at the primary level, is to see if “all the schools have physical education coaches or if they have coaches in other disciplines”. Physical education is compulsory for basic schools through to grade nine at the secondary level.
“I am 80 per cent complete and, so far, I am very impressed with the information that I am gathering, because I see where the primary schools and the principals and the teachers are committed to ensuring that our students are physically fit,” Miss Grange said, as she addressed the press launch of the Institute of Sports (INSPORTS)/Swizzle Primary Schools Athletic Championship today (April 30) at the Jamaica Pegasus Hotel in Kingston.
According to the Sports Minister, the study is in keeping with the National Sports Policy, which is aimed at making sports accessible to all Jamaicans, by creating the environment for increased participation among all citizens, and improving the sports infrastructure.
“Certainly, this year, we are going to intensify the development and improvement of our sports infrastructure through the Sports Development Foundation (SDF),” the Minister pledged.
She noted that sports is essential for the development of the country’s young people, as it brings them together and serves to develop their competitive spirit. She further pointed to its importance in building leadership, supporting healthy behaviours and encouraging peaceful co-existence among communities.
In the meantime, she lauded INSPORTS for its contribution to the development of the country’s athletes.
Minister of Youth, Sports and Culture, Hon. Olivia Grange (third left in background), enjoys the performance of students from the Rousseau Primary School, during a function at the Jamaica Pegasus Hotel in Kingston, on April 30, to launch the Institute of Sports (INSPORT)/Swizzle Primary Schools Athletic Championship, which takes place at the National Stadium from May 6 to 9. Also in the background (from left) are: Vice President of the Jamaica Olympic Association (JOA), Don Anderson; President of the North American, Central American and Caribbean Athletic Association (NACAC), Neville McCook; and Sales and Margeting Manager for Seprod Limited, Marcia Kitson-Walters.
“The Institute of Sports has been making significant contributions over the years and despite the magnitude of the job they have to do, with limited resources, they have continued through sport officers, to play an integral role in the development of many of our present and past athletes,” Minister Grange said.
She pointed to the important role the Institute has played in the success of triple Olympic champion and world record holder in the 100 metres and 200 metres, Usain Bolt, who has been groomed by former Sports Officer, Pablo McNeil, and National Sports Co-ordinator, Glen Mills.
Pledging support for the primary school championships, the Sports Minister said it is the “kind of event that provides the nurturing ground for greatness.”
The event takes place at the National Stadium from May 6 to 9, beginning at 9:00 a.m. each day.
The Primary Schools Athletic Championship began as a ‘Sports Day’ in 1981 with five Corporate Area schools participating. This year, 3,000 athletes from 63 schools will compete at the meet.
The annual championship has served as a development ground for some of the nation’s most accomplished athletes, including Olympic gold medallists Shelly-Ann Fraser and Melaine Walker.
Seprod Limited, distributor of the Swizzle brand drink, has been the competition’s main sponsor for the last 10 years.