Five facts you probably didn’t know about ‘Nationals’
By Treiston Joseph
With the National School Championships just about a week away and athletes, teachers and relevant stakeholders gearing up for the 57th edition of the mega championships, News Room Sport looks at five fun facts that you probably did not know about the championships.
- Fastest woman
While it’s a recent record that many people might remember, Kenisha Phillips at the time running for East Coast (District Four) clocked the fastest time ever by a female at ‘Nationals’ in the 100 metres with a time of 12.0s in 2015.
However, what makes the record interesting and fun is that Phillips ran the record in the Under-16 category while the Under-20 record still stands at 12.1s, which is held by Rhobyn Alleyne of East Georgetown (District 12) since 2004.
- Man of many records
In case you ever wondered which athlete has the most records at the National School Championships, News Room Sport has the answer for you and no it isn’t one of those athletes from the golden era (1980’s/90’s) as some might think.
The young man has seven records in total and hails from Upper Demerara/Kwakwani (District 10). If you guessed correct that young man is World Championships Under-18 400 metres silver medallists, Daniel Williams.
Williams owns the Under-14 100m record at 11.6s, the joint holder of the Under-16 100m record at 11.0s, the Under-16 200m record of 22.6s, the Under-14 400m at 54.9s, the Under-16 400m record at 51.0s, the Under-12 high Jump record at 150cm and finally the Under-16 high jump record at 183cm.
Williams, who will compete for the final time at the National School Championships before going off to college, will have a few more days to add more records to his name.
- Longest record in the books
There is often a common argument among athletes and it starts with the question, “What do you prefer, a world record or Olympic record?”
Some choose between the two and some are undecided, but as is the usual saying ‘records are meant to be broken’ and that was made even more pertinent when South Africa’s Wayde Van Niekerk broke Michael Johnson’s 1999 record of 43.18s over 400ms to 43.03s.
However, at ‘Nationals’ it isn’t a track record that stands the longest but cycling will take this one as Colin Benjamin of Corentyne (District 6) has held the male 3000m upright cycle record since 1981 when he broke it in Linden with a time of 5:39.05s.
- Old success
While many follow the current battle between North Georgetown (District 11) with 14 titles and Upper Demerara/Kwakwani (District 10) with 15 in addition to noting the success of East Coast (District 4) with seven as the three share 36 titles out of the 56 editions of the mega event; there is one other district that has multiple titles and I am not speaking of the 12 held by Georgetown when it was combined unit in the 70’s.
That district with multiple titles happens to be East Bank Demerara (District 14) with two titles; their first in 1968 at Blairmont and the second in 1970 in Georgetown.
2017 should actually be the 56th edition of the National School Championships instead the 57th edition; let’s get down to the facts. Since 1959 when the championships were first held, there have been four occasions when the event did not occur.
The first was in 1963, the second in 1985, the third in 1999; none of these years according to the record books were counted and next to the year read “No competition (Venue); NIL (winner)”.
However, in 2003, according to the record book, it read “No competition; NIL” but it was counted as the 43rd edition of the event.
To be on the safe side the years that were abandoned due to rainstorms read exactly that and were also counted and had the venue of where the championships were being held. However, mistakes do happen so we will chalk it up to be simply an oversight on the part of the stakeholders.
Bonus…Top guns to never compete at ‘Nationals’
While many had the misconception that they competed at the National School Championships, two of Guyana’s biggest stars never did compete at the event that is touted as the greatest collection of junior talents in the nation.
Those two athletes are; Commonwealth 400m gold medallist and 400m national record holder Aliann Pompey and South American 400 gold medallist and national 400m record holder Winston George. Both have represented Guyana at the Olympics.