Press Releases

August

UNEXPECTED RIVALS DOMINATE JDF 2012 ATHLETICS CHAMPIONSHIPS

By Sergeant Beverley Knight-Millwood

Members of the victorious JDF Coast Guard do a richly deserved victory
lap after winning the 2012 JDF Inter-Unit Athletics Championship at
the National Stadium East Track on Saturday August 18, 2012.

At the conclusion of the 2012 Jamaica Defence Force Cross Country Competition on Wednesday August 15, the performance of the JDF Coast Guard was less than stellar to say the least. The Unit had amassed 311 points to beat only the JDF Air Wing in the annual event and none of their runners placed anywhere near the top, much less the top ten. The general feeling was that the Unit was just out of their league. This prompted Col D T Edwards, Chairman of the JDF Sports Board to issue a stern warning to the seamen that if they did not improve their performance in competition on land, the rest of the Force would soon start gunning for their swimming titles.

Pom-Poms, vuvuzelas and high spirits were the order of the day as
jubilant JDF Coast Guard supporters created a festive atmosphere at the National
Stadium East Track during the JDF Inter-Unit Athletics Championship on Saturday August 18, 2012.

Fast forward to Saturday August 18 at the 2012 JDF Inter-Unit Athletics Championship. Whether Col Edward’s words were a warning, a challenge or a criticism, one thing is clear; no one was prepared for what would unfold over the course of the day as the JDF Coast Guard answered his challenge with an exciting and historic win at the National Stadium complex. The meet was so competitive that it would take the final event, the men’s 4x400m relay, to resolve this titanic battle between the Coast Guard and this year’s hot favorite, Combat Support Battalion (Cbt Sp Bn) who were contesting the event for the first time ever. So heavy was the punching that last year’s winner, the Support and Services Battalion could only watch as a new champion got ready to be crowned.

Lance Corporal Gilzeane of 1 Engineer Regiment gets on his mark as
he prepares to launch out of his blocks at the JDF Inter-Unit Athletics Championship
held at the National Stadium East Track on Saturday August 18, 2012.

When the smoke finally cleared and the judges had counted, recounted and counted again, the result was clear; one point separated first time entrants Cbt Sp Bn and the JDF CG, with the Coast Guard wining by virtue of having the most second place finishers. The Units had been tied on points (108) and tied on first place finishes.

The points standing for the rest of the JDF were Support and Services Battalion third on 98 points, the First Battalion, the Jamaica Regiment (1JR), 69 points, the Second Battalion, the Jamaica Regiment (2JR), 55 points, 1 Engineer Regiment (JDF) 53 points, the Third Battalion, the Jamaica Regiment National Reserve (3JR (NR)) 48 points, and the hapless JDF Air Wing on 22 points.

The stage was set for an action packed day as from the first gun, the JDF CG began to upset some of the usual frontrunners whilst adding flair and entertainment to the event. Armed with the “Rising Star” civilian marching band from St Thomas, the JDF CG came to win and to entertain.

Ordinary Seaman Christie (left) of the JDF Coast Guard is all alone as he anchors
the victorious JDF Coast Guard team in the 4X100m relay at the JDF Inter-Unit
Athletics Championship held at the National Stadium East Track on Saturday August 18, 2012.

When asked early in the day about a game plan coming into the Championship, Leading Seaman Hunter remarked, “it is hard to say because the competition this year is equally contested, but we will be looking to ‘add value’ to the day”.

And that they did, as there were numerous spills, thrills and upsets on the track and in the field with the JDF CG involved at every turn. In the All Ranks Medley, the Coast Guard won by nearly 30 meters. In the 100m sprint, Ordinary Seaman Christie left his competitors and spectators in awe as he delivered a blistering run.

The Tug-O-War events were equally thrilling. The First Battalion, the Jamaica Regiment (1JR) made short work of Cbt Sp Bn but soon after, there was a massive pull between the Sp and Svcs Bn and 3JR (NR) teams. Strategy coupled with strength and determination allowed 3 JR (NR) to prevail as the Tug-O-War champs, and earning them the honor of being named the JDF’s strongest team. Defending champions, 1ER (JDF) had to settle for the bronze medal.

Ordinary Seaman Christie of the JDF Coast Guard (forth from left) powers his way to
becoming the 100m Champion at the JDF Inter-Unit Athletics Championship held
at the National Stadium East Track on Saturday August 18, 2012.

By early afternoon, rain clouds covered the sun and high winds swept across the field but the championship heated up with a cracking 4 x 400m relay. The race saw stiff contention between Cbt Sp Bn, Sp and Svcs Bn and the JDF CG. When the dust settled it was the Cbt Sp Bn that edged out their competition.

With bated breaths, the spectators waited for the final results as never in the history of the JDF Championship was there such a nail biting finish. The Coast Guard supporters however, clearly knew something that no one else did as they sang, danced and vuvuzela-ed their way to the edge of the track. When the result was announced, CG supporters were jubilant, hailing their first ever hold on the coveted trophy.

Captain Basil Jarrett and his Officers Team put up a short but valiant fight
against the Warrant Officers and Snr NCOs team in the Tug of War
competition at the JDF Inter-Unit Athletics Championship held at
the National Stadium East Track on Saturday August 18, 2012.

In his address at the end of the event, a beaming Meet Coordinator, Maj Damion Creary extended appreciation and commendation to the Principals, Officers, Warrant Officers, Men and Women of the JDF along with the families and friends who came in droves to lend their support to the event.

“I believe that this is the best championship that we have had for many years, certainly in terms of the competiveness starting from the Cross Country and leading into the Track and Field events,” he noted. “There was clearly an intensity in the effort, training and execution,” he continued, “and the athletes really gave it their all, particularly the JDF CG who were the underdogs coming into this competition.” He further emphasized that it was a job well done by all the other Units.

Lance Corporal Frazer (left) receives her award for being the Top Female
Athlete from former CO JDF Coast Guard and current Colonel AQ,
Captain (N) Sydney Innis ( right) at the JDF Inter-Unit Athletics Championship held at
the National Stadium East Track on Saturday August 18, 2012.

Maj Creary went on to encourage the Units to start early preparations as the standards will be higher and greater next year. Looking ahead to the 2013 Championship, he hinted that “it was his desire that the JDF Polo Field and the National Stadium’s East field would be the new homes for the Cross Country and the Track and Field Championship respectively”.

The final points standings weren’t the only surprising results at the championships as for the first time ever, the Male Athlete of the Year Award went to an officer, Lt Richard R Robinson of the Cbt Sp Bn. The female Athlete of the Year Award went to LCpl Fraser of 3 JR (NR).

The look on their faces says it all as members of the Support and Service Battalion took on the
Third Battalion, the Jamaica Regiment National Reserve (3JR (NR)) for the title of "JDF's
Strongest” during the Tug of War final at the JDF Inter-Unit Athletics Championship
held at the National Stadium East Track on Saturday August 18, 2012. The Third Battalion,
the Jamaica Regiment National Reserve (3JR (NR)) would eventually pull away the title from their opponents.

Brigadier R R Meade in his address at the end of the meet highlighted that “due to operational and other commitments, the 2012 Athletics Championship had to be pushed back leaving little for proper preparations.” He emphasized however that it was by far the best Championship in recent times, and used the opportunity to emphasise the point that that “size does not always matter”, referencing the unprecedented win by the comparatively small JDF Coast Guard. He further encouraged the Units to keep the standard up and to aim for the highest despite what challenges they might be faced with. Brig Meade commended the JDF CG for taking up the challenge issued by Col D T Edwards on Wednesday, and thanked everyone present for their participation. He said he wished to see this level of competitiveness in all sporting activities hereafter.

Taking time out from the celebrations, JDF CG Team captain AB Junior Taylor remarked, “Col GS’ challenge caused us to reassess our game plan. Manpower was always an issue as the JDF CG has seven bases to man, so we had to arrange time off for training. The Unit rallied behind us and doubled and tripled on some of the duties in order to make this day possible. We are very pleased with the end result”. He also thanked MCPO1 Garfield Rowe who he said was instrumental to their victory.

A JDF Coast Guard athlete signals to his fans that its' cruising time as he completes the
final leg of the All Ranks Medley Relay at the JDF Inter-Unit Athletics
Championship held at the National Stadium East Track on Saturday August 18, 2012.

Lt Cdr Robert Aldred, Acting CO of the JDF CG, commended his team and implored them to “strive to maintain the first place position in all events and to transfer the energy to their primary roles”.

As the curtains came down on an exceptional 2012 Athletics Championships, satisfied spectators beat a hasty retreat from the stadium as imminent rain lined the clouds. A fitting end to a thunderous statement by the JDF Coast Guard.