Kingston 10 May 2019 – Lane two in the Class Three 100 metres for girls was supposed to be Chantea Skyers’ lane. The young Red Hills Primary School athlete had been preparing for months to compete in the Insports Championships when she went missing and was later found dead.
Today — the second of the three-day Championships — was to have been Chantea’s moment; the day she had been working towards.
Her coach, Phillip Anderson, said she was a “very promising” athlete. “She had the ability to reach just as far as Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce. She was there and somehow we lost her… I don’t know why they had to take her,” Mr Anderson continued.
At the request of the Minister of Culture, Gender, Entertainment and Sport, the Honourable Olivia Grange, Chantea’s lane was not taken by another athlete. Instead, as the competitors faced the starter in the Class Three 100 metres for girls, a picture of the slain athlete and roses placed by her mother, Christal Service, and Minister Grange, occupied lane two.
Miss Service, overwhelmed, was unable to give a statement.
Minister Grange said it was “sad to recall that on her way from school, Chantea was taken, abused and tragically killed. We all feel the loss deeply, so you can imagine how her mother feels today… She’s here in spirit. She ran her race today.”
The decision to “keep her lane free” was intended to honour the young runner and to appeal to the nation for greater effort to protect children.
“As a government we will continue to do what we can to safeguard our children. This is Child Month and it is also the launch of Workers’ Week and Labour Day and our theme for Labour Day is safety of our children and it’s our responsibility, it’s your responsibility, it’s the responsibility of all of us and so we will continue to play our part and to do even more to secure our children.”
The Eastern Zone of the Insports Primary Schools’ Track and Field Championships concludes on Saturday.
The Central Zone Championships will take place at GC Foster College of Physical Education and Sport from May 13-15; and the Western Championships will be held at St Elizabeth Technical High School from May 16-18.