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by Denise Salmon
Jamaican athletes are admired the world over and quite rightly so since we have been dominating the world stage in the sprint events, seconded only by the mighty USA.
The roots and breeding ground however, can be linked to the yearly high school championships - the boys and girls championships.
The Girls and Boys Championships, held in Kingston, Jamaica every year since 1910 started out as a Championship just for boys and Wolmers High School was the first school to win the trophy.
The girls did not actually have a championship until 1957, when St. Hugh's High School won.
In 1910 only six schools competed and no one could imagine that 103 years later, these championships would become such a wonderful event, with almost 150 schools competing.
The love and the passion for track and field in Jamaica has grown over the years and the young athletes have been getting better as they compete at the championships.
Jamaica's first Olympian Dr. Arthur Wint who competed in London in 1948, was a dominant figure at the boys championships in 1948.
(So now we know that Usain Bolt, Asafa Powell and the many other male athletes were not the first ones to do well on the world stage after they did well at the championships.)
Herb McKenley was Arthur Wint's teammate in 1948 and they made Jamaica very proud as they were the first Jamaicans to make it to the Olympics. They won both a Gold and a Silver medal at the games.
Herbert Henry McKenley was very outstanding Jamaican athlete as he was a part of the relay team at the Olympics in 1948. He attended Calabar High School and also did very well at the championships. He was also an outstanding coach and administrator and he was appointed to the Jamaican Order of Merit in 2004.
These men laid a great foundation for the future of Athletics in Jamaica, they showed the world that Jamaicans can do well on the world stage, even though our island is small.
Jamaicans have been doing better all the time and at the Summer Olympics in London Jamaicans brought home 12 medals (4gold, 4sliver and 4 bronze). As this was their most successful performance at the date of this publication.
The highlight of the games was the 200m race that was dominated by Jamaicans. Usain Bolt won the race, Yohan Blake was second and Warren Weir third!
Usain Bolt who carried our Jamaican flag at the games won 3 out of 4 gold medals for Jamaica there and also broke an Olympic and world record in two of the three events in which he participated!
This was the 16th time Jamaica was participating at the Olympics as an independent nation and there is a clear indication that Jamaica will continue to do well, as records that were previously set at the local Girls and Boys Championships are being broken every year.
Even though there were no championships for the girls until 1957, Jamaican female athletes have shown the world that they are champions too.
Merlene Ottey did well at the many Championships where she competed even though she was not able to win a Gold medal for Jamaica.
Dionne Hemmings was the first Jamaican female athlete to win Gold for Jamaica and she ran in the hurdles.
However after her break through Veronica Campbell Brown, Shelly-Ann Fraser Price, Bridgette Foster Hylton and Melanie Walker have all won Gold medals at the Olympics and there are other female Jamaican athletes who have won medals at the Olympics and at different meets.
The IAAF Championships in Moscow will begin today, the 10th of August 2013, and 44 Jamaican athletes have qualified and should be participating at the Championship.
We are all hoping that they will do well.
Jamaican Athletics - The Reason For the Successes
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