The rumblings have once again started over the availability and access to the most precious commodity in Jamaican sports: grandstand tickets for the final day of Boys and Girls’ Championships. The discourse has now reached ridiculous proportions with the recent proposal by the past student bodies of top high schools – Calabar, Kingston College, and Jamaica College – launching a formal lobby for a bigger portion of the premium, final-day grandstand tickets to be made available to them. This, to my mind, is a most obnoxious, contentious, and unprincipled proposal. Equity and fairness have been thrown into the garbage, as KC, Calabar, and JC typically seek to feather their own selfish nests. The so-called ‘three the hard way’ are trying to make the case that they spend a combined total of over $40 million in preparing their teams for the marquee event, which, invariably, is won by one of the big three, thus their claim of entitlement for preferential treatment. The arrogance went up a notch with the sly reminder by the ‘cartel’ that Champs would not be the same without Calabar, KC, and JC – with no regard for the fundamental fact that Champs is still a national amateur high-school event. The situation is what it is as it relates to the overwhelming demand for grandstand final-day Champs tickets, and that situation will not change anytime soon. The capacity of the grandstand is less than 5,000, with approximately half of those seats allocated to sponsors, special guests, media, etc. So, in reality, there will be tens of thousands of people chasing less than 3,000 premier grandstand Super Saturday tickets. Certainly, allocating more of those limited tickets to ‘select schools’ cannot be the way to go for the Inter-secondary Schools Sports Association (ISSA). Outside of allowing the overwhelming demand to dictate the price of the grandstand tickets, which would probably push the price up to an exorbitant level, ISSA must remain cognisant of the fact that Champs remains a mere high-school event. Under the less-than-perfect circumstances, the limited tickets should continue to be allocated on a first-come first-serve basis. That is simply the fairest method of allocation. WHAT NEXT? Following the principle of the ‘three the hard way’ proposal to its logical conclusion, it would not be long before the suggestion comes that only past or current students of the top contenders and the big spenders and recent Champs, winners KC, Calabar, and JC will be welcome inside the grandstand and eventually inside the entire stadium. I suspect that the erudite and principled leadership of ISSA will pay very scant regard to the proposal of what must now be more appropriately known as ‘three the snobbish and arrogant way’. The sending of the right messages of fairness, justice, equality, and transparency must be of utmost importance as it relates to a high-school event. The principle must remain where no students or past students of any particular school should be more entitled to a seat in the grandstand on the final day of Champs than the students or past students of any other school. I sincerely hope that after burning in the fields for so long in order to build Boys and Girls’ Champs into an international spectacle of the highest reputation, that on this particular issue of principle, ISSA will neither fall nor yield.
Scientists seek rare species survivors amid Australia flames MOST READ LATEST STORIES The event, part of the celebrations for the anniversary of Kim Il Sung’s birth in 1912, is normally the annual peak for Western tourism to the isolated country, offering visitors the chance to run or jog through the streets of Pyongyang.But fears of conflict reached fresh heights last year as the North made rapid progress in its nuclear and missile ambitions under Kim Jong Un, the third member of the Kim dynasty to rule, carrying out its most powerful atomic test to date and launching rockets bringing the continental United States into range.FEATURED STORIESSPORTSGinebra beats Meralco again to capture PBA Governors’ Cup titleSPORTSAfter winning title, time for LA Tenorio to give back to Batangas folkSPORTSTim Cone, Ginebra set their sights on elusive All-Filipino crownSeveral new sets of United Nations Security Council sanctions were imposed, and in September, Washington effectively banned United States citizens from visiting following the death of tourist Otto Warmbier, while several other countries stepped up their travel warnings.The measures remain in place despite a rapid rapprochement triggered by the Winter Olympics in the South, with Kim due to meet the South’s President Moon Jae-in later this month, ahead of a summit with U.S. President Donald Trump. D’Antoni, Harden and Paul poised to capture trio’s 1st title Carpio hits red carpet treatment for China Coast Guard PLAY LIST 02:14Carpio hits red carpet treatment for China Coast Guard02:56NCRPO pledges to donate P3.5 million to victims of Taal eruption00:56Heavy rain brings some relief in Australia02:37Calm moments allow Taal folks some respite03:23Negosyo sa Tagaytay City, bagsak sa pag-aalboroto ng Bulkang Taal01:13Christian Standhardinger wins PBA Best Player award Sports Related Videospowered by AdSparcRead Next P16.5-M worth of aid provided for Taal Volcano eruption victims — NDRRMC Competitors run along a wide street during the annual Pyongyang marathon in Pyongyang on April 8, 2018. The event – part of the celebrations of the anniversary of Kim Il Sung’s birth in 1912 – has consistently been its annual peak for Western tourism to the isolated country, offering visitors the chance to run or jog through the streets of Pyongyang. Image: AFP/Ed JonesA few hundred foreigners lined up in Kim Il Sung stadium Sunday for the Pyongyang marathon, less than half of last year’s contingent with Western tourism to North Korea battered by nuclear tensions and a United States travel ban.A packed crowd in the 47,000-capacity arena cheered and applauded before the runners streamed out of the stadium beneath portraits of the North’s founder and his son and successor Kim Jong Il.ADVERTISEMENT Don’t miss out on the latest news and information. Nadine Lustre’s phone stolen in Brazil Australian Tracy Britten, who ran the 10-kilometer race, said doing so was “surreal.”“You just don’t know what to expect, so here you are in the streets of Pyongyang running around, people are giving you a high five and it’s just an incredible experience.”Western tourists to the North used to run at around 5,000 a year, with U.S. visitors making up about 20 percent, and critics say that Pyongyang profited from their presence.Standard one-week trips cost around $2,000 (about P104,000), while shorter budget journeys can be less than half that price.Warmbier, a University of Virginia student, had tried to steal a propaganda poster, was convicted of subversive activities and sentenced to 15 years’ hard labor.He was sent home in a mysterious coma last June, dying a few days later, with Trump tweeting that he had been “tortured beyond belief” while Pyongyang blamed botulism, although medical examiners said he suffered brain damage caused by a lack of oxygen.But Cockerell told AFP that on the “battlefield of soft power,” Washington had inflicted “a stunning defeat on itself” with the travel ban.“The complete absence of Americans cedes the ground to the DPRK state to present Americans any way it wants without even a few local people encountering visitors from the U.S. and seeing what people are really like there,” he said.‘Aura of danger’Young Pioneer Tours, the firm which took Warmbier to North Korea, also saw its marathon customers fall by more than half, although guide Matt Kulesza said that its overall numbers for this year were on target. Judy Ann’s 1st project for 2020 is giving her a ‘stomachache’ Truck driver killed in Davao del Sur road accident For some travelers, he said, controversy about the country “almost appeals to people,” so that to some extent “all publicity is good publicity,” although the current warming on the peninsula could change that.“With so much positive talk of the DPRK in the media maybe that aura of mystery, that aura of danger is almost disappearing,” he added.But British television student Callum McCulloch, 23, had no doubts.Describing Pyongyang as “like the set of a Wes Anderson film” after his half marathon, he dismissed the Foreign Office’s advice against “all but essential travel” to the North.“If someone tells you not to go somewhere, not to do something, that makes you more want to go there, surely,” he said. “It’s bragging rights. My mates owe me a few pints when I get home.” JBRELATED STORIES:What to do post-run to maximize your resultsLOOK: 3 new running books to level up and inspire your training Jo Koy draws ire for cutting through Cebu City traffic with ‘wang-wang’ Lights inside SMX hall flicker as Duterte rants vs Ayala, Pangilinan anew A total of 429 foreign amateurs entered the Pyongyang Marathon this year, compared with more than 1,000 in 2017.“The tourism industry in general has fallen substantially since the middle of last year,” said Simon Cockerell, general manager of Koryo Tours, the market leader. “All the political dramas, military crises have brought the industry down by at least half.”Twin tourersTwo North Korean twin sisters, Kim Hye Gyong and Kim Hye Song, took first and second in the women’s race Sunday, matching each other stride for stride and gesture for gesture as they came up the finishing straight, the younger of the 25-year-olds crossing the line less than a meter ahead.Local runners also filled the first three places in the men’s race, with the first invited elite competitor, a Moroccan, trailing in fourth and observers suggesting the cold conditions, in the single degrees Celsius, did not favor African runners.ADVERTISEMENT View comments Green group flags ‘overkill’ use of plastic banderitas in Manila Sto. 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\R Tel Aviv, Jun 27 (AFP) Britain’s Prince William took a stroll along one of Tel Aviv’s hippest boulevards today with the flamboyant Israeli winner of the Eurovision Song Contest. Around 2,000 well-wishers pressed against security barriers for a glimpse of the unlikely pair, with singer Netta Barzilai sporting purple braids and a lime-green tunic over black leggings. Some of them shouted “We love William!”, winning a smile from the prince, dressed for the Mediterranean sunshine in chinos, an open-necked shirt and a lightweight summer jacket. The 25-year-old Barzilai won the Eurovision contest with her up-tempo song “Toy”, with lyrics inspired by the #MeToo movement. The studio version of the song features a sound-altering device known as a mini-looper, although under Eurovision rules it was not permitted during the Israeli singer’s live performances at the Lisbon contest stage. Today she gave the 36-year-old prince a mini-looper of his own, although he said he lacked any vocal talent. “You want me to sing?” he asked. “Have you heard me sing? You wouldn’t say that if you had heard me sing.” The royal trip, the first to Israel and the Palestinian territories, is particularly focused on youth and technology. After meeting Barzilai, William met Israeli environmental activists over lemonade on a Tel Aviv rooftop. “I care a lot about the environment,” he told them. “I think my generation, my children as well, there’s a legacy here … we need to tidy up a bit.” (AFP) SMJSMJ