April 2020 Volume 16

21 Little And Well Known Facts About Champs

Hugh Reid
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Champs began in 1910 as a standardized sports day for six of Jamaica's oldest high schools, Potsdam (now Munro College), St. George's College, Jamaica College, the Wolmer's School, New College and Mandeville Middle Grade School. It is now the biggest track and field event involving high school students anywhere in the world, but did you know?

1. The first chair of the CHAMPS/Schools Sports Organizing Committee was William Cowper, headmaster of Wolmer's.

2. Prior to 1910, over the previous six previous years, a boys’ track meet was held in which athletes were given handicaps according to age, reputation and overall appearance – as in a horse race – but this format was discontinued in 1910 when new rules and a new trophy were introduced.

3. Only sixteen schools have ever won a boys’ or girls’ championship, with Kingston College (1962–1975) having the longest boys’ winning streak and Vere Technical winning the girls division the most times in a row (1979–1993).

4. Only Excelsior High School and St. Jago High have ever won both boys’ and girls’ divisions at Champs. The feat has never been accomplished in the same year.

5. St Hilda's Diocesan High School in St Ann was the first school to win the girls’ championship.

6. Asafa Powell competed, but never won at CHAMPS being disqualified in the Class 1 100m final.

7. Jamaican-born American sprinter Sanya Richards competed at CHAMPS for Immaculate Conception High School before migrating to the US in 1997.

8. Since 2010, CHAMPS has only been cancelled in two years, 1944 and 2020.

9. Former premier of Jamaica, Norman Washington Manley scored more than the rest of his team combined at Champs 1911 to lead Jamaica College to their first Champs win.

10. Kingston College won the first of what would be a 14-year hold on the Boys’ Champs title in the same year that Jamaica gained Independence, 1962.

11. In 1964, Kingston College participated in the Penn Relays, becoming the first Jamaican high school to participate in that event.

12. Vere Technical High School won its first Championship title in 1967.

13. In 1982, Calabar and Kingston College were banned from participating in Champs because of a fight on the track during 1981’s staging of the event.

14. In 1995, St Jago’s Omar Bailey was the first athlete to win the 400 in every class at Champs.

15. Boys and girls started to compete jointly in CHAMPS in 1999.

16. Usain Bolt made his Champs debut in 2003 and placed fifth in the Class 3 200m.

17. In 2007, St Jago’s Yohan Blake broke Rudolph Mighty’s 11-year 100m record, setting a new time of 10:21s.

18. Trevor Campbell – The Kingston College legend, popularly known as TC, competed undefeated in individual events at CHAMPS. His only defeat came in a 4×440 yards’ relay as he ran out of gas and could only manage third.

19. Vilma Charlton’s class 2 sprint double led St Andrew High School to its only Champs victory in 1962.

20. Rupert Hoilett, while still a KC student, along with fellow students Una Morris (Kingston Technical) and Neville Myton (Excelsior) defied conventional wisdom and made the 1964 Olympic team. He was also given the honour of carrying the nation’s flag.

21. Another KC star, Lennox “Billy” Miller stamped his class on Champs by winning the class 1 sprint double three years in a row, from 1963-65. His daughter Inger (USA) is also an Olympic medalist, making them the first father/daughter duo to win Olympic medals.

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