Joycelyn Liburd Primary Steals Charlestown’s joy by Curtis Morton
It took an extended period of drought throughout the Caribbean for the Joycelyn Liburd Primary School to end their Championship drought at the Inter Primary schools championships held on Nevis yesterday.
The former champions ended the five year reign of the Charlestown Primary School in the closest of finishes—defeating them by just two points.
In front of what has been described as a record crowd for the event, the athletes were exceptional despite the dry; parch conditions and the sweltering heat. It was obvious that all of the schools had shown up at the event, fully prepared after weeks and weeks of intense training and they did not disappoint as the ‘never say die’ attitude prevailed throughout the day.
The opening ceremony commenced about an hour behind its scheduled start time but was impressive and to the point. The march past was led by Cadets and the Charlestown Primary school with musical accompaniment by the Nevis Symphonic band. Among the dignitaries taking the official salute were the Premier of Nevis Hon. Joseph Parry, Patron of the event Gerard Browne (former Champion athlete at this level) and Chairman of chief sponsors Gulf Insurance, Mr. Gerard Inniss.
The proceedings were ably chaired by Halstead ‘Sooty’ Byron and the invocation was done by Pastor Sandra Flemming. Among those delivering brief remarks were Principal Education Officer, Mrs. Lornette Connor, Premier Joseph Parry, Gulf Insurance Chairman, Mr. Gerard Inniss and NAAA Chief Lester Blackett. Special presentations were also made to Chairman Inniss and Patron of the day, Gerard Browne who officially declared the meet opened.
The action was then concentrated on the track and what a day it was!
At one point Charlestown Primary had a comfortable lead but as the meet progressed, it was obvious that the Joycelyn Liburd Primary was giving a strong challenge. Then the JLP was leading by a mere one point and then Charlestown surged back into the lead. As the meet headed to its climaxing phase, it was obvious that celebrations had already commenced within the Charlestown camp and then with the final two races of the day left, the announcement was made that the JLP was on 175 and Charleston Primary was on 170 after the 100 meter events. The folks from Gingerland were ecstatic. Frantic messages were being sent to the Charlestown athletes. The final two races in the the 4X400 meters for boys and girls would determine the eventual champions.
As the athletes lined up for the final race of the day, the Gingerland camp knew according to Coach Kurvin Wallace that they just had to place high in order to win and that they did. This sparked off scenes of jubilation all over the Elquemedo Willet Park. A pink replica of a coffin was conspicuous among the sea of purple as the Gingerland athletes and their fans danced and waved to the strains of the DJ.
Coach Kurvin Wallace was obviously drained but ecstatic. “We worked hard for this and we knew we could have done it”, he stated. As regards the future of his team, he stated that they would wind down with some celebrations but in the upcoming weeks, his athletes would be back in training for next year’s event.
Carl Tuckett on TV commentary sounded an ominous warning: “Elquemedo Willet and the Charlestown Primary will be back next year”.
The final point standings were not available up to press time but the Joycelyn Liburd Primary School led the pack with 182 points with the Charlestown Primary in second on 180.
The St.John’s Primary School won in the B division
The huge crowd must be complimented for their good behaviour as they showed up in their various colours and costumes and the law enforcement officers must be congratulated for their hard work on the day.