Mini-Olympics News

MINI-OLYMPICS-2016 show the power of sport to unite is still strong - by Clayton Clarke of TT
The "Mini-Olympics" of Nevis showed that track and field is still a sport of much appeal among the young and young at heart. The power of sport in building self-esteem and confidence was evident as Ivor Walters Primary (IWPS) athletes arrived in their school bus. The chantings from the youngsters we
re heard as the bus pulled into the main entrance on the western side of the Elquemedo Willett Park and made its way up the food court. The IWPS competitors were the first team at the park but still their shouting and ranting continued as they disembarked the bus and made their way up to the Athletes' area on the eastern end. The boasting and bragging left me eager to await the arrivals of seven other competing teams. 

However, my attention was taken by the two digital boards set on the centre of the field. One allowed the V.I.P. area spectators and those on the northern side to not miss any of the action as the area was off the side of the track. The other digital board provided view for the fans on the eastern side. The boards proved critical as the replay videos were many times needed to determine the outcomes of the numerous close and exhilarating finishes. The fans didn't have to wait too long to get the official results even though the photo finish camera had to be used to decide on some razor edge close and tantalizing outcomes which left many supporters and school staff in heated exchanges with the officials. 

The generous use of cameras around the Park showed the races from numerous angles including over-head shots provided by the drones. The effort and investment into providing state-of-the-art equipment and the latest in finish-line software showed how the Nevis Inter-Primary Championships have grown since Gulf Insurance came on board as sponsors 24 years ago.

Nevisians & Kittitians came out in their numbers and tried to get the best possible view on the half flat and half undulating grounds. The organizers have been crying out for an Athletic track which is the one technology that would greatly enhance one of the marquee and must-be-at events in Nevis and the Leeward Islands. To add to the ambience and world-class feel, the track was sprayed green, making it an oasis in the sun-baked and arid atmosphere.

The support and enthusiasm for the meet remain unquestionable as during my visit to the capital Charlestown hours before the start, I was greeted with a sign at an office which stated that doors will be closed at noon because of "Inter -Primary". As you walked through the streets supporters were easy to identify by the colour of the flag, pomp-pomp or sticker on the vehicles passing by. 

In the park the umbrellas and coolers told one story but the golden, maroon and orange dyed hair-dos of the athletes and staff told a more compelling saga of how serious this event is to the psyche of the proud islanders. I can't forgot the Charlestown mascot who had all supporters guessing what she will be decked in this year. She didn't disappoint showing off her orange mauhawk hair do, leotard, mini-skirt and face paint ensemble which said it all. 

There were reports that the 10am, 11am and mid-day ferries to Nevis from St. Kitts were full and there were special late evening sailings back to St. Kitts, all testimony of the appeal of the "Mini-Olympics" of Nevis.

The sounds of the horns and the zu-zuvelas filled the park and as the competitors crossed the lines you could tell where the supporters were located as they were all cheering in celebrating their athletes.

As the 25th edition of the Gulf-Insurance sponsored meet beckons in 2017, I am sure the organizers will no doubt have something special in store. You will have to be there to find out !!