The Honourable Olivia Grange, Minister of Culture, Gender, Entertainment and Sport announced on Friday, 8th June prize money for the first time in the 18 year history of the INSPORTS Basic Schools Athletics Championships.
Speaking at the Media Launch of the 2018 edition of the Basic Schools Champs, held at the National Arena, Minister Grange said, “The winning school will receive $50,000; second place, $30,000 and the school coming third, $20,000 and in addition all schools participating in the competition will receive five-thousand dollars each.
The Sports Minister was also happy with the growth of the meet which has moved from 60 schools last year to 85 so far this year. “And registration is still going with schools as far away as Westmoreland registering. So far we have 2,216 entrants; 1,198 boys and 1,118 girls.”
Minister Grange said further: “There is a lot to be said for the staging of sports competitions among our basic school population of youngsters.
“It serves as an early introductory lesson in athletics for young children in a fun way, it stimulates their critical thinking, while also creating a social harmony and team-building ethos.
“Sports enhance the physical and mental development of children. Endurance sports have been proven to actually raise IQ, in addition to building confidence and teaching children about emotional self-control.
“The feedback from teachers of early childhood institutions is that they notice a marked improvement in the children’s social and intellectual development as a result of their participation in sports.
“It is for all these reasons that the Government of Jamaica sees physical education at the early childhood level as crucial.
“Basic schools’ sports must also be given some of the credit for Jamaica doing so well in sports, especially track and field.
“Ladies and gentlemen, I encourage sports enthusiasts, parents and teachers to turn up at the National Stadium on June 13 to watch these young ones. They will provide a good early view of what our future in the sport will be.”