Violence at Champs: Kingston College cannot be wrong and strong!

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Stopwatch. (photo: courtesy of Michal Jarmoluk).

Much has been said about the incident involving the Kingston College (KC) and Calabar athletes at the end of the 100 meter Class 2 Final at Champs last week Saturday in Jamaica. However, most of the discourse has been partisan and, by extension, sectarian, with some seemingly suggesting that the Calabar athlete willfully ran into the KC athlete’s lane. I would like to provide an opinion on the issue and let me declare at the outset that I am a Kingston College old boy, having attended the institution between September 1969 and June 1974.

That the Calabar athlete was disqualified for lane interference is well within the rules. That the Kingston College athlete was subsequently ejected from further participation for his subsequent physical attack on the Calabar athlete, was also within the rules and that, too, was more than acceptable. His initial shoving of the Calabar athlete at the immediate end of the race was unacceptable but understandable and could have been written off as continued adrenaline-rush. His second attack on the Calabar athlete, though, belies explanation and has to be seen as deliberate provocation and eliciting a fightback response- which thank heavens, never came. I admire the restraint shown by the Calabar athlete for not responding.

In football, his initial shoving would have elicited a “yellow card”, but his second shove would have resulted in a “red card” and immediate ejection. That the Kingston College officials were able to lodge a protest and have the athlete reinstated, may have served the immediate team objective but it scored a “black-eye” for what was otherwise a great championships.

I am mindful of two things as I consider this. The first is the state of indiscipline among our largely impressionable youth population. What the KC athlete did was wrong, and he was rewarded for it in the jury room by the KC management team. This sends a message that you are okay to be wrong and strong at the same time.

The second reminder was the incident at champs in 1981 between the KC and Calabar athletes in the medley relay at the time. It showed the two institutions at their worst. That so much effort has been expended to repair the relationships between both schools over the years is a matter of record. How this last incident has played out has further injured that relationship.

I find it quite disappointing that a more public effort has not been made by the Kingston College fraternity to address this issue. After all, the incident was captured on public television with snippets of the entire event out there on social media and fueling continued vitriol among the Calabar fraternity.

I believe that the Kingston College youngster owes the entire KC fraternity, the Calabar fraternity, as well as the sponsors an unqualified apology no less than was delivered by Calabar a few years ago at Kingston College.

You cannot be wrong and strong at the same time!

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