The First Champs…
Who would have thought in 1910, that what began as six schools competing for the Championship Cup would have evolved into today’s boy & girls championships, which now involves approximately 150 schools.
Champs Did You Know?
- The inaugural staging of the sponsored VMBS Boys' Championships was won by the maroon and gold team from Wolmer's High School in 1910.
- Wolmer's has taken home the trophy 11 times, the last time in 1956.
- The Girls' Championships was initiated by the Games Mistress Association (no longer in operation), which staged its first event in 1957. The girls of Brown's Town, St. Hilda's High, won.
- Defending champion Jamaica College (JC) has won the competition a record 20 times and has dominated it since 1998. They pushed Kingston College (KC) to second spot last year.
- Munro College was the first rural school to place number 1 back in 1920. They subsequently won the competition 7 more times, the last time in 1948.
- The defending champion girls from Clarendon, Vere Technical, have also taken home the trophy 20 times.
Below is an excerpt from the book ‘History of the Inter Secondary School Championship Sports 1910 – 1970’ by: Sir Herbert McDonald
Our story begins at Sabina park at 12:30 p.m. on Wednesday, June 29, 1910, when for the time the Inter-Secondary Schools Championship Sports are to be held.
Before this there had been six Inter-Secondary Schools Championships starting in 1904. The first five of these were won by Jamaica College and by Wolmer’s in 1909. But because there had been a certain amount of dissatisfaction over the handicapping, these championships have not been popular and the first Inter-Secondary Schools Championships are now being held.
The competition is divided into three classes:
- Class I - Over 16 but under 19
- Class II -Under 16
- Class III -Under 13
The High jumps and Long Jumps are divided into classes, not according to ages, but according to the height of the competitions. Class 1are boys over 5ft 2in. and Class 2 are boys under this height.
There are also five open events: -
- 800 Yards
- Pole Vault
- 120-Yard Hurdles
- Throwing the Cricket Ball
- Standing High Jump
Six teams entered the Championships: - Wolmer’s School, Jamaica College, St. George’s College, Potsdam School, New College, Mandeville Middle Grade School.
There is no take off board for ht Long Jump – only a whit lime line – nether is there a foam landing for ht High Jump, you land on solid “dutty” – though they had mercy on the athletes and a straw mattress was provided fro the Pole Vault.
According to the Gleaner of Thursday June 30, 1910
Wolmer’s School carried its colours to victory yesterday and come out with the championship cup, in the first annual championship sports of the secondary schools in Jamaica. The meeting was held at Sabina Park and was witnessed by a large number of person prominent among whom were, His Excellency and Governor and Lady Olivier, the Hon. J. R. Williams, Cannon Simms and several others.”
The weather was fine, though a trifle warm, but this seemed rather as if it served to stir the boys to keen spirit of rivalry and enthusiasm, all of which went to make the meeting a notable and successful one”
Jamaica College is superior in Class 1 as their senior athletes score 20 out of a possible 30 points for the six events. In the open event these same senior athletes score another six points, giving them a total of 26, 9 more than St. George's and 16 ½ more than Wolmer’s. But JC failed badly in classes 2 and 3. Here they score only .4 of a point in seven events whilst Wormer’s scored 22.
The Jamaica College Magazine of 1910 took the class 2 and 3 boys apart by saying that “the performances of the boys in class 2 and 3 were most discreditable as they only gained 4/10th of a point. 2 point at least aught to have been gained in the long jump. Wolmer’s Boys in class 2 and class 3 were in splendid form and showed good promise of retaining the cup for their school for many years.”
“In the flat races, other than the 880 yards the boys were divided into two or three classes according to age and the first and second in the heats competed in the finals. It was a stiff fight between Wolmer’s, Jamaica College and St. Georges, and at one time the dark blue and white of the ‘J.C.’ Boys came a rather close second. But Wolmer’s maintained its lead to the end winning the Olivier Championship Challenge Cup.” (Note: it was not the Olivier cup).
The hundred-yard (finals) class one was a pretty smart dash and won in 10 1/5th with Manley (J.C,) a close second. Another keenly contested event was the hundred yards finals in class 2. So close was the finish that the referee had to be call upon to decide. The pole jump was excellently good. Lecesne of St. Georges College carrying it off with a jump of nine feet six inches. The long jump for boys over 5foot 2 inches in height was won by J.R. Lewis of St. George’s College. In his first jump which measured 19 feet 6 ¼ inches.
The sports were well covered by the press as in addition to the above account by the Gleaner, here is what the Telegraph and Guardian of Thursday, June 30 1910 had to say: -
The attendance at the Jamaica Schools Championship sports held at Sabina Park yesterday afternoon might not have been quite up to expectations, but in every other department of the meeting – first of its kind to be held in the island – was a decided success, and its future existence is assured.
The Championship sports as Cannon Simms pointed out at the prize distribution are not intended to supplant the inter scholastic school sports which have done so much to improve athletics in the secondary schools of the island. The championship sports are to bring the cream of the boy athletes together, and cannot fail to have a deep and far-reaching influence on the development of athletics in Jamaica. Many of the youngsters who competed yesterday showed such form as to warrant the belief that in the years to come the will be found representing the land of their birth against invaders from over the seas. And it is well that this should be so.
The committee had prepared an ambitious programme yesterday, but everything was got through without a hitch
After a few remarks by Mr. Cowper and Cannon Simms, Lady Olivier distributed the medals and handed over the champion cup to Wolmer’s the winner.
The judges were Capt. Nicholson, Dr. Williams, Mr. Holland and Mr. Tapley, Mr. R. S. Cargil officiated as referee. Members of the committee and other officers of the meeting worked hard for its success and the arrangements which went through under the able guidance of Mr. W. Cowper (Hon. Secretary) without a hitch.