Ding Dong hails Digicel Grand Prix '...Offers a way out for inner-city youth'
For popular dancehall artiste Kemar 'Ding Dong' Ottey, initiatives like the Digicel Grand Prix offers inner-city youth an alternative to violence and crime.
"The youth in the ghettos and inner-city communities need to know that there are other ways to live than taking up violence, guns and robbery," said Ding Dong. "Some people, like me, find a way out through music and dance, but many others have the talent to take part in sports like track and field to find their own way out."
Ottey, who hails from the community of Nannyville in East Kingston, added, "Too many youth right now think that the only way is the robbery way and the gunman way, but when they see others their age doing big things and winning big in things, like Digicel Grand Prix, they can get inspired to work hard and get their own success."
To date, the Yeng Yeng hitmaker has worked with Digicel on a number of campaigns, including Double Dat, Mega Money Summer and, now, he is the voice behind the 2017 Grand Prix Athletics Championship campaign.
"I really feel accomplished as an artiste to have worked with Digicel on a lot of projects," Ottey reflected. "To see that they could take me, a youth from the inner city, and put me on their campaigns and so on, just shows that they're here for development, and I have to give them ratings for that. Now, they have taken track and field and put some serious prizes and work into it, so you know they want to see the best come out of that."
Next top athlete
With the incentives listed for the Digicel Grand Prix Athletics series, Ottey posits that the next top athlete could very well be found at one of the development meets sponsored by Digicel.
"Yeah man, Digicel is helping Jamaica to find the next Usain Bolt or Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce from early, and guess what? That's the best thing that could ever happen. Find them early and start giving them everything they need to grow and develop and you'll have the next generation of Jamaica's athletes ready to take on the world in no time."
Ding Dong, along with Bounty Killer and Chi Ching Ching, will take the stage at the Digicel Grand Prix finals, which will take place following the G.C. Foster Classics at the National Stadium this Saturday. Here, school teams will vie for the title of Boys and Girls Digicel Grand Prix champion 2017 and the top prize of $1m towards gym equipment or development of their school's training facilities. Additionally, Grand Prix record-breakers have the chance to win individual scholarships ranging from $25,000 to $50,000 each.
The Digicel Grand Prix Athletics series is sponsored by Gatorade, GraceKennedy, KFC, Pure National Ice, Malta, the Sports Development Foundation, SportsMax, KLAS, Zip FM, Irie FM, The Gleaner Company (Media) Ltd, THE STAR, Main Event, National Outdoor Advertising, among others.