Excitement builds on eve of Digicel Grand Prix

183987_Jamaica’s best high school athletes begin their quest for sporting glory and over $16 million in cash and prizes in the 2016 Digicel Grand Prix Athletics Championship, which gets underway this Saturday, February 6, with the Western Championships at Catherine Hall in Montego Bay, and the Youngster Goldsmith National Athletics Classics at the National Stadium in Kingston.

Athletes will compete for honours in the 100 metres, 200m, 400m, 800m, long jump, high jump, discus and the 4x400m.

The six-event Grand Prix will continue with the Corporate Area Development Meet at the National Stadium on Thursday, February 11; Camperdown Classic at the Usain Bolt Track on Saturday, February 13; Central Championships at GC Foster College on Tuesday, February 16; and the Grand Prix final at the GC Foster Classics at GC Foster College on Saturday, February 20.

The top two athletes from each event from the first five meets will earn the first six spots in the finals. There will be two wildcard positions for the two next best athletes from any meet.

 

Athletes will get nine points for a win, seven for second place, six, five, four, three, two, and one point for individual events, and 12, 10, 8, 6, 5, 4, 3, 2 for the relay.

Points will be accumulated from the regional meets and carried over to the Grand Prix Final to determine the overall school champions.

Technical committee chairman, Maurice Wilson, is expecting stiff competition in the sprints at the Western Championships, while the field events should take the spotlight in Kingston.

“The 100m and the 200m should bring a lot of attention because the athletes from that region are comparable to athletes from the Central and other regions. With the Youngster Goldsmith, the long jump should be of interest because of athletes coming out of Calabar and even as far as Oberlin. With Kingston College and Calabar we are expecting good competition in the throws and the discus,” he said.

St Elizabeth Technical High School, the defending boys’ champion should get a head start with defending 200m Grand Prix champion, Nigel Ellis, expected to perform well again this season.

Wilson also warned Corporate Area athletes not to be complacent as a win at the Youngster Goldsmith Classics would not automatically guarantee a spot in the Grand Prix Final on February 20.

“It is important that teams from the Corporate region give their best at the first meet because they cannot tell what will happen for the next two meets,” he said.

Wilson also challenged athletes to hunt for prizes that would add to their schools’ programmes.

The champion schools will receive $1 million, runner-up $500,000 and third-placed $200,000 worth of gym equipment.

Should an athlete break a meet record at any of the six meets, he/she will be awarded a scholarship which will be made payable directly to the school that the athlete will be attending in September 2016.

The coach of the 2016 Digicel Grand Prix Athletic Championship-winning male school and female school will each receive $50,000.

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