Former athletes want rivalry back in school sports

Lester Flax & Everton Cornelius.
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By Neto Baptiste

“Bring back the rivalry in school sports,” is the call from two former national track & field athletes, Everton Cornelius and Lester Flax.

The duo, appearing on the Good Morning Jojo Sports Show, said the rivalry between secondary schools fuelled competitions and made students into better athletes and competitors.

Flax, a former student of the Antigua Grammar School (AGS), said the rivalry was always friendly and placed students under pressure to compete.

“The rivalry was very healthy. It spurred competition and I don’t know if you still have that kind of rivalry but when we had to go down to the recreation grounds for the track meet between Grammar School and the St Joseph’s Academy, you’re trembling in your boots because everybody was there watching. But I remember the excitement of the competition. It was really a duel to the death when it came to Grammar Schools vs Academy and it was the same thing in football,” he said.

Flax represented Antigua and Barbuda at the 1978 Commonwealth Games in Canada.

Cornelius, who attended the St Joseph’s Academy, still remembers that day they conquered fierce rivals, the AGS, in a tug of war contest back in 1971.

“Antigua Grammar School brought all the girls from the Antigua Girls’ High School and they lined them up on the gallery and all of the big guys from Grammar School they lined off the lower section and they were cadets, so the guys came out in their cadets boots,” he said.

“They said they were going to pull us left and they were going to pull us right, so we were pulling them north and they were pulling us south. On the first go, we pulled them over the line; on the second go we pulled them over the line; so by the third go we had them. So we had holiday, we had the day off at school that Monday or Tuesday,” the former athlete added.

Cornelius competed in the men’s 4 × 100 metres relay at the 1976 Summer Olympics. He is the current president of the athletics association.

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