MoE to host 1st Relay Festival on Friday at Leonora

The National Track and Field Centre at Leonora will host Friday’s event
The National Track and Field Centre at Leonora will host Friday’s event

As preparations for Guyana’s 50th Independence Anniversary celebrations are underway, the Physical Education Department of the Unit of Allied Arts, Ministry of Education, in collaboration with the Athletics Association of Guyana is gearing up to host the Golden Jubilee Relay Festival at the National Track and Field Centre, Leonora, on Friday.

The Golden Jubilee Relay Festival is similar to other festivals or fairs held locally, regionally and internationally for high schools and other educational institutions. Similar events include the Barbados Relay Fair held annually in January and the Trinidad and Tobago Schools Relay Festival held annually in February.

Nicholas Fraser, Head of the Physical Education Department, Unit of Allied Arts-Ministry of Education, said this particular Festival will provide team-based athletic events for both Secondary Schools and Tertiary Institutions locally.

“It is important that clubs are not allowed to participate in these festivals so that student-athletes are allowed more recognition and exposure,” he said.

Fraser believes that ultimately, this Relay Festival can be a catalyst for the development of rounded athletes who are more likely to acquire scholarships.  According to Fraser, the age categories and events will challenge schools to provide teams from the lower, middle and upper school. Therefore, the winner of this Golden Jubilee Relay Festival should be the school with the most balanced athletic programme.

The Golden Jubilee Relay Festival will be governed by the relay rules of the International Amateur Athletic Federation (IAAF) Competition Rules 2016-2017. It is expected that the Golden Jubilee Relay Festival will attract Secondary Schools (one from each District). Schools must register their teams through their relevant Regional Education Department. Additionally, Tertiary Institutions, i.e. Technical Institutes, Training Centres and Universities may register directly at the Unit of Allied Arts.

Among the events will be Male and Female Under-13, Under-15 and Under-17 age groups competing in the 4×100, 4×200 and medley races, while there will be Male and Female Under-17 Classic Pentathlon (Long Jump; Javelin; 200m; Discus; 1,500m). There will also be Open Male and Female 4×100 and medley races.

Overall vision

The Relay Festival fits into the Ministry of Education’s overall vision for the re-introduction of sports in schools and continuous teacher training programmes with Primary and Secondary Schools nationally. In the last five years training has been executed with Secondary School teachers in Cricket, Football, Rugby, Table Tennis, Volleyball, Track and Field and Basketball.

This year two more workshops in Rugby and Table Tennis will be held. In December 2015,  a CSEC Teachers Course in Track and Field was executed in conjunction with the Athletics Association of Guyana. Teachers were provided with the requisite skills and knowledge to implement a Track and Field programme in schools.

This event will provide an opportunity for teachers to evaluate their progress and to provide student-athletes with a unique sporting experience using the best facilities available – the National Track and Field Centre, Leonora.